South Sydney continued their stellar start to season 2013 with a 28-10 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium in front of 15,972 fans.
Surprisingly it was the Cowboys who started strongest, opening the scoring after ten minutes with a try to Antonio Winterstein. Poor execution was to cost the Cowboys later in the half, with back-to-back tries to Sam Burgess and Bryson Goodwin seeing the hosts leapfrog their opponents to take a 12-4 lead, which they'd maintain through to halftime. North Queensland appeared to be on the receiving end of some contentious video referee decisions, but on review they'd have little to complain about.
The second half started with a flurry, Greg Inglis pouncing late on a John Sutton grubber which Johnathan Thurston had tried to let roll dead. The Cowboys struck back quickly through Winterstein's second try and reduced the margin to eight, and continued to dominate possession for large parts of the second half.
South Sydney's defence held true, leaking no points from that point despite plenty of attention on their own line from the visitors. After absorbing that pressure, quick hands enabled Nathan Merritt to score in the corner and extend the Bunnies' lead to 12, before the man everyone came to see, Greg Inglis, scored a 60-metre runaway try with five minutes to go.
The Rabbitohs have another Friday night ANZ clash next week, against the lowly Tigers in Women in League round, while the Cowboys face another stern test when they host the Roosters in Townsville next Sunday.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 North Queensland Cowboys 10
Venue: Stadium Australia
Halftime Score: South Sydney Rabbitohs 12-4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Sam Burgess
2 points - George Burgess
1 point - Greg Inglis
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (28)
Tries: Sam Burgess, Bryson Goodwin, Greg Inglis (2), Nathan Merritt
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (4/5)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (10)
Tries: Antonio Winterstein (2)
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Just moments away from kick-off here tonight. The Rabbitohs will start this match as heavy favourites - probably warranted, given their impressive start to the season. They've lost only one game so far, against competition favourites, the Melbourne Storm
1 min: End of the first set, Souths kick high looking to put some pressure on Matt Bowen, but he takes it cleanly and returns it 10 metres.
3 min: A mistake here from the Cowboys, and the Rabbitohs have the scrum feed on their own 10 metre line.
3 min: The Rabbitohs return the ball strongly, complete their set, and kick deep toward Bowen, who is hammered by 5 defenders as he returns the ball.
4 min: Mistake from the Cowboys here, and the Rabbitohs have their first attacking opportunity of the night, from 15 metres out.
4 min: And the Cowboys are penalised again - Rabbitohs in great position now, only 10 metres from the tryline.
5 min: The Rabbitohs dribble a kick towards the goal posts, but the Cowboys manage to clean up.
7 min: A half break from the Cowboys a few sets later on the first tackle, but some desperate defense manages to drag down the attacker.
10 min: Jonathan Thurston with a brilliant steal - the Rabbitohs had no one standing at dummy half, and Thurston dives on the ball.
13 min: Some side-to-side play from the Cowboys, with Thurston putting on a high kick. The kick's allowed to bounce, and the Winterstein toes through the loose ball and puts a hand on it, claiming a try. We're going to the video referee.
16 min: NO TRY - the video referee orders a turnover to Souths on the 15m line.
18 min: Souths on the attack here now, Inglis running for the corner on the last, but he's brought down, and the Cowboys get an easy turnover.
18 min: Thurston drives the ball downfield, and Everingham returns it.
20 min: Another high kick from Souths, and Bowen again cleans it up nicely.
20 min: And the Cowboys lose the ball on the Souths 30m line.
24 min: A mistake from the Cowboys, and Souths have the scrum feed 10 metres from the tryline. Inglis lines up out wide, but Goodwin takes the ball up hard.
26 min: George Burgess
makes a half break on the 4th, stepping back inside Thurston. On the last, some scrambled play, quick passing, and schoolyard chucking the ball around, sees Goodwin dive over the tryline. Video referee decision pending...
Another break from George Burgess
- he's looking unstoppable. The Rabbitohs kick high on the last, Bowen takes it nicely, and then makes a half break, running 30 metres down field through broken defense.
30 min: The Cowboys make it down field almost to the opposition tryline. They kick on the last, and Inglis returns it. He stands in the tackle, against 3 defenders.
30 min: Penalty against the Rabbitohs, and Thurston kicks for touch down field. The Cowboys take the tap on the halfway line, and drive it forward through Bolton.
33 min: Cowboys heavily on attack here - at the moment though the Rabbitohs don't seem to be having too much trouble in defense. Thurston kicks across field on the last, and the Bunnies knock on. Repeat set to the Cowboys.
34 min: Cowboys running backwards at the moment - the Souths defense is stopping them at every turn. Thurston kicks on the last for the right corner, but it's too big, and Merritt easily tidies up.
36 min: Forward pass from the Rabbitohs from dummy half.
37 min: Cowboys on attack again, Thurston dribbles a grubber into the dead ball area, and Everingham takes no risks and runs it over the dead ball line.
38 min: Cowboys with the ball again after the dropout - they're only metres out, but Linette is smashed in a ball and all tackle by Champion. Next play, and the Cowboys may have scored! We're going to the Video referee...
38 min: No try - Tate is ruled to have knocked the ball forward while jumping for the Thurston kick. Tate is absolutely filthy, but the Bunnies get the play the ball from 10 metres out.
39 min: Yet another break from Burgess - he slices straight through, and then passes back inside to his support player, but the Cowboys intercept it.
40 min: And we head to half time - the Cowboys almost scored on the last play, but couldn't quite sneak around the outside of the Souths defenders.
40 min: The Cowboys head back out onto the field, followed by the Souths players.
And off the first play of the second half, and Scott Bolton
kicks the ball forward instead of playing it. The Bunnies on the attack from 20m out.
41 min: We're going to the video ref - possible try to the Rabbitohs...
41 min: TRY SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Scored by Greg Inglis
. Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds
And the video referee rules a try! Inglis chases through a Sutton grubber - Thurston attempts to watch the ball go dead, but Inglis swoops in and dives on the ball.South Sydney Rabbitohs
Short side play from the Cowboys, Kane Linnett
bounces off one tackle, and offloads. The ball then sweeps back across to the right of the field.
46 min: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Antonio Winterstein
. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston
And we have a try! Thurston kicks across field for the corner. Everingham is underneath it, but Winterstein outjumps him and comes down with the ball for a try. Thurston, from the left corner of the field, hooks the ball over the posts.South Sydney Rabbitohs
50 min: The Cowboys through a forward pass from dummy half to Sims, and the Bunnies have the scrum feed on the halfway line. The run the ball down the blind side.
51 min: The Rabbitohs put the ball on the boot on the last, and it runs over the dead ball line.
53 min: A smooth backline movement from the Cowboys winds up with Linnett, who puts a lovely pass in for the bloke in row 3. Unfortunately he had his hands full with a hot dog, and couldn't capitalise.
We have a bit of a scuffle here. Ashton Sims
has made contact on Champion with his knees across the back of his head and ribs. Sam Burgess
didn't like it too much. Ashton Sims
is placed on report, but it looked like there wasn't a lot he could do about things.
53 min: Souths on attack now - Asotasi charging forward into the defence only metres from the tryline.
56 min: Isaac Luke scrambles out of dummy half, and makes a half break, but loses the ball when he gets hit by the defense. Cowboys have the ball.
56 min: And the Cowboys run the ball down the left side of the field, Thurston faked short, and threw a ball behind to Bowen, but Bowen's pass to the winger is ruled forward. It looked ok to me, but i'm not the referee.
56 min: Bowen kicks deep on the last, a few sets later, but it goes right down the throat of Inglis.
60 min: The home crowd screaming for a penalty for obstruction here - the cowboys player ran behind his own man, but he stopped and stood still, so no advantage was gained.
60 min: And on the last, Reynolds knocks on attempting to tidy up the kick. The Cowboys get a scrum feed just metres from the tryline.Bowen attempts to run around the entire Souths team, but is dragged down.
60 min: 6 again for the Cowboys. They need to score here, obviously.
63 min: But the Cowboys cannot score - they mess around for about 10 tackles, before putting in a nothing kick that Inglis has no problems with.
63 min: But Reynolds has now kicked the ball out on the full attempting a 40/20. The Cowboys have the ball on the halfway line.
63 min: A line break for the Bunnies is followed up by a penalty for offside. Reynolds kicks for touch, and the Rabbitohs are hot on attack only 20 metres from the tryline.
69 min: TRY SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Scored by Nathan Merritt
. Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds
And now the Rabbitohs have scored another try. Some quick hands through the left side of the field sees Merritt cross in the corner. Brent Tate
rushed up on Inglis, which caused an overlap out wide. A quick catch pass, and Merritt gets his first of the night. Reynolds hits the upright, and his kick is unsuccesful.South Sydney Rabbitohs
70 min: Burgess and McQueen combine to prevent the Cowboys from recovering a short kickoff. Sutton makes a break, and Tate drags him down from behind.
70 min: The Rabbitohs are claiming a try here, after they knock the ball back into the field of play, but the ref wants none of it. From the restart, Thurston drop punts the ball from the 20m line, and it goes out on the bounce, giving his team the loose head and feed.
71 min: Cowboys looking for some points here - they trail by 12, and need to score here if they are to remain in the game.
71 min: The Cowboys look to have scored out wide, but Reynolds comes across in cover defense and knocks the Cowboys winger over the sideline. No try.
72 min: Souths with the scrum feed only 20m from the Cowboys line, but they've knocked the ball on.
72 min: A bit of feeling in the game - a penalty against the Rabbitohs, and the Cowboys kick for touch. Merritt leaps high, and touches the kick as it goes over the sideline.
76 min: Cowboys on the attack after the scrum, but a heavy tackle knocks the ball loose, and Inglis steals it, and makes a massive break downfield.
And scores the try. Shut the gate, Inglis has bolted. A 60 metre sprint sees Inglis plant it under the posts. No one was within 20 yards of him. An easy kick for Reynolds, and he converts it from straight in front.South Sydney Rabbitohs
Another line break from George Burgess
- he's an absolutely beast. This time, he's seagulling down the sideline, probably looking for a breather, but comes up with the ball and mashes his way downfield.
80 min: Full Time, and the Rabbitohs have run out winners tonight, 28 points to 10.
Post match, and Benji Marshall
is a bit of dejected, unsurprisingly. Claims to have strained his injury a little bit as well.