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REPORT | South Sydney Rabbitohs 21 – 20 North Queensland Cowboys

The Rabbitohs have defeated the Cowboys in a one point thriller at Barlow Park on Sunday afternoon. The win puts the Rabbitohs in outright second while the Cowboys drop to 15th position.

MATCH DETAILS

It was a back and forth first half with neither side able to dominate for long periods at a time. The Cowboys were the first to score when Johnathan Thurston put in a perfect kick chip for his winger Antonio Winterstein in the 8th minute. The Rabbitohs responded six minutes later when Adam Reynolds put in a grubber for himself to tie the scores at 6-6. The Cowboys took the lead once again in the 17th minute when Thurston put in another perfect kick for Gavin Cooper to dive on, and a penalty goal in the 25th minute took the lead out to 14-6. The Rabbitohs had the last laugh in the first half when Sam Burgess produced a brilliant offload for Cody Walker to score under the posts.

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The Rabbitohs got off to the perfect start in the second half when Campbell Graham crossed in the corner to give them a two point lead. They held that lead before Lachlan Coote scored with just nine minutes remaining to give the Cowboys a 20-16 lead but the Rabbitohs equaled the scores just three minutes later when Damien Cook sent Robert Jennings over in the corner. Adam Reynolds had a chance to take the lead but missed the sideline conversion, before he gave his team the victory with a late field goal.

FOUR POINTERS

ANOTHER SLOW START ALMOST COSTS BUNNIES

Two weeks ago, the Rabbitohs were down 14-6 early against the Eels and they were down by the exact same score again in this match. They stormed home to an easy win against Parramatta but the early deficit was almost too much to overcome against a brave Cowboys team.

They’re one of the premiership favourites in 2018 and rightly so, but they can’t afford to go down early against the top sides in the competition. It will definitely be something that coach Anthony Seibold will be looking to improve on over the next few weeks.

THURSTON MASTERCLASS NOT ENOUGH FOR THE COWBOYS

Johnathan Thurston has been under a lot of scrutiny so far this season but produced his best performance of the year in this game. Thurston ended the game with two try assists and his kicking game was perfect throughout the entire match, highlighted by his perfect chip kick to set up the Cowboys’ first try.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Cowboys fell agonisingly short, slumping to their 12th loss of the season. Thurston had a chance to tie the game after the siren with a field goal attempt but pushed it wide, summing up what has been a disappointing year for himself and the Cowboys.

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BUNKER STRIKES AGAIN

It’s been a controversial year for the bunker, highlighted throughout the season by the apparent inconsistency regarding the obstruction rule. The Rabbitohs scored their first try in a decision that could have gone either way after Jake Granville was knocked down by a decoy runner opening up a hole for Adam Reynolds.

The Rabbitohs then had a decision go against them when Campbell Graham was ruled to have knocked on before Gagai picked up the ball and scored. However, replays appeared to show Graham knocking the ball backwards. It’s been a tough year for the bunker and the game will never be without controversy but hopefully the game can begin to stamp out these debatable decisions.

SOUTHS STAY IN MINOR PREMIERSHIP RACE

With the Dragons winning on Thursday night, the Rabbitohs needed a win to stay close to the ladder leaders. A loss would have left them four points behind the Dragons but they managed a win and now sit just one win behind top spot in outright second.

With a favourable few games coming up against the Bulldogs, Tigers and Eels, the Bunnies have a real shot of chasing down the Dragons and securing the minor premiership. It would be a huge turnaround for the side who are much improved after finishing in 12th last year.

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THE RESULT

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 21
Tries: Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker, Campbell Graham, Robert Jennings
Goals: Adam Reynolds 2/4
Drop Goals: Adam Reynolds 1

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 20
Tries: Antonio Winterstein, Gavin Cooper, Lachlan Coote
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 4/4
Drop Goals: n/a

SQUADS

South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Greg Inglis, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess Interchange: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Tevita Tatola

North Queensland Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Enari Tuala, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Te Maire Martin, 7 Johnathan Thurston, 16 Corey Jensen, 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14 Ben Hampton, 15 Shaun Fensom, 17 Francis Molo, 21 Shane Wright

Aspiring sports journalist based in Bathurst, New South Wales. Been a huge Penrith Panthers supporter my whole life.

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