A crucial two points for both sides: the Rabbitohs trying to push into second place while the Cowboys play for their season at home.
A strong crowd turned up to 1300SMILES Stadium in its fourth-last NRL game this year, while Cowboys legend Matt Scott was back home after recently announcing his retirement. After a one-point win against Manly, the Rabbitohs were looking to get back-to-back wins for the first time in a month. The Rabbitohs’ forward pack was injury-depleted, while the Cowboys missed captain and halfback Michael Morgan.
Too much sticky spray cost the Cowboys as the ball stuck to Kyle Feldt’s hand while playing the ball, giving the Rabbitohs great field position and their first try. A beautifully placed grubber by Adam Reynolds was dived on by Ethan Lowe as he bagged one against his old club. It didn’t take long for the Cowboys to respond, with Jake Granville skipping out towards the blindside, creating the overlap, then delivering a perfect cut-out ball to Feldt, who ran 45 metres before offloading to Tom Opacic who jumped over the line.
A penalty tied the game at 6-6 before another penalty gifted Souths some field position, leading to a vintage Cam Murray quick play the ball and a crash ball to Lowe who scored a first half double. The seesaw continued as a sloppy error from Lowe led to five-eighth John Asiata kicking to aerial specialist Feldt to soar and pull down a try for the Cowboys. Souths led 12-10 at halftime.
The second half started with a Souths error and a missed penalty goal from Jake Clifford, but that was soon to be forgotten. A Clifford bomb had Souths players scrambling and quick thinking fullback Scotty Drinkwater picked up the scraps, scoring under the posts. The Cowboys now led for the first time in the game and were winning the arm wrestle. A penalty extended the Cowboys’ lead to 18-12 with 25 minutes left. With nine minutes to go a deflection and a kick off the ground found superstar Dane Gagai for Souths to bring the game square, ensuring a grandstand finish. With the Cowboys fading, the Rabbitohs sprung into shape and sealed the game with Murray offloading to Tevita Tatola under the posts. To add insult to injury, James Roberts beat some slow forwards, giving Murray an easy try and a 30-18 win.
Cowboys’ Season Fading
The Cowboys have failed to go back-to-back, meaning they will have to have an almost perfect end to the year to finish in the top eight. After a strong win against the Roosters, the men from the north couldn’t quite seal tonight’s win. They’re in thirteenth position after tonight’s result, a win would have put them in ninth.
Murray Continues to Impress
Cam Murray came up very big tonight with a try, a try assist, line-break assist and 51 tackles in a man of the match performance. The young man continues to perform and there is little doubt he will be a star.
Sluggish Finish Costs Cowboys
At 18-12 the Cowboys dropped what was a certain try, then fell away, conceding three tries in seven minutes. If the Cowboys want to make the finals they have to focus on finishing games.
Burgess Bros Needed
Even though Souths came away with the win, the Cowboys big men ran through the South Sydney pack. The return of Slammin’ Sam is a much-needed addition to the Souths forward pack.
North Queensland Cowboys 18
Tries: Tom Opacic, Kyle Feldt, Scott Drinkwater
Goals: Jake Clifford 3/6
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30
Tries: Ethan Lowe (2), Dane Gagai, Tevita Tatola, Cameron Murray
Goals: Adam Reynolds 5/5
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Javid Bowen 4. Tom Opacic 5. Murray Taulagi 6. John Asiata 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Shane Wright 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Coen Hess 15. Matt Scott 16. Scott Bolton 17. Francis Molo.
Rabbitohs: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. Dane Gagai 3. James Roberts 4. Braidon Burns 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Dean Britt 11. John Sutton 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14. Tom Amone 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Jaydn Su’A 17. Kyle Turner.