Fulltime score: Round 19 NTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 14 v STH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 16 Match summary: A late penalty goal to South Sydney's Brad Watts has seen the Rabbitohs to their second win in a row, the visitors defeating the North Queensland Cowboys by just 16-14 in Townsville tonight.
Souths opened their account after eight minutes when back rower Luke Stuart dummied his way through to score.
The Cowboys replied eight minutes later through winger Matt Sing who followed a kick from captain Travis Norton. Minutes later, the Cowboys held a 10-6 lead when forward Justin Smith score next the posts.
But Souths locked it up in the 26th minute when lock forward Ashley Harrison took advantage of some lead up work from half back Mick Moran.
At half time, it was 10-all.
The second half was a close contest with both sides having their opportunities.
Cowboys' flying centre Ty Williams was first to strike in the 46th minute to put the Cowboys back in front. But Souths levelled the scores again in the 55th minute when five eighth John Sutton dived over to make it 14-all.
In an evening where the goal kicking from both sides was literally a case of hit and miss, the match was ultimately decided by a two-pointer with Souths' winger Brad Watts making no mistake. The penalty being awarded right in front after the ball was stripped in a two-man tackle.
On the injury front, Rabbitohs' half back Mick Moran was forced off in the first half with rib cartilage damage while Cowboys' winger Neil Sweeney was concussed late in the match and stretchered off with a precautionary neck brace.
Scorers: NTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 14 Tries: Sing, Smith, Williams Goals: Thurston (1/3) STH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 16 Tries: Stuart, Harrison, Sutton Goals: Watts (2/5)
Dairy Farmers Stadium Crowd: 17,038 Referee: Shayne Hayne Half time: 10-all
Live commentary: Tonight it's 4 vs 14, the Cowboys pushing to consolidate their position in the Top 4, Souths trying to avoid a late charge by the Knights to avoid the spoon.
0 min: The Rabbitohs kick off at a balmy Dairy Farmers Stadium!
4 min: Souths give the ball to the Cowboys, but manage to hold strong on their own line.
8 min: TRY - Rabbitohs The Rabbitohs keep the ball alive and Luke Stuart dummies and goes through the Cowboys defence to score. Watts converts. Cowboys 0 - 6 Rabbitohs.
11 min: The Rabbitohs are cutting the Cowboys to bits up the middle, desperate defence holds the Rabbits out.
16 min: TRY - Cowboys Norton slides a kick into the in goal and Matt Sing dives onto it unopposed. Thurston just misses the kick from near the sideline. Cowboys 4 - 6 Rabbitohs.
20 min: TRY - Cowboys Justin Smith runs past a falling Mick Moran and scores to the right of the posts. Thurston hits the posts and the kick goes over. Cowboys 10 - 6 Rabbitohs.
23 min: Cowboys break down the left side and kick ahead but the Rabbitohs scramble back and stop a certain try.
26 min: TRY - Rabbitohs Mick Moran turns the ball back inside to Ashley Harrison who scores in a Cowboys tackle. Watts misses the conversion. Cowboys 10 - 10 Rabbitohs.
30 min: Rabbitohs look far more dangerous with the ball in hand, but aren't able to convert.
32 min: NO TRY - Cowboys Matt Sing looks for his second as Souths totally mess up defusing a bomb, but Bowman is adjudged to have knocked the ball on.
34 min: NEWS - Brad Watts misses a penalty goal. Beau Champion on for a seemingly injured Moran.
38 min: Both teams making a number of errors leading up to half time.
HALF TIME: The game is locked up at 10 at half time. The Rabbitohs will be kicking themselves for some defensive lapses that cost them two soft tries, as well as the lack of a known goal kicker. Mick Moran has been diagnosed with rib cartilage damage.
40 min: The second half is underway!
46 min: TRY - Cowboys. Try to Ty Williams who crashes over 15m in from touch. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 14-10
55 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. John Sutton dives over with a defender around his ankles, 12m in from touch. Brad Watts unable to convert. 14-all
60 min: NEWS - Possession pretty even. Souths enjoying a little better of the play of late with a repeat set but it's anyone match.
70 min: NEWS - Still 14-all. Cowboys with a repeat set but not much between the two sides.
74 min: NEWS - Cowboys' Neil Sweeney badly injured (knocked out cold) following heavy tackle in the Cowboys in-goal. A stoppage in play while he is stretchered off on the medi-cab.
NEWS - Field goal opportunity for Souths as Cowboys drop out.
74 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT UNSUCCESSFUL - Attempt from Souths hits the upright. Cowboys trapped in-goal. Another chance to Souths.
75 min: PENALTY GOAL - Souths. Brad Watts makes no mistake right in front. Follows Travis Norton stripping the ball in two man tackle. Rabbitohs 16-14
78 min: NEWS - Souths with the ball on half way.
79 min: NEWS - Cowboys with the ball on half way! In the same set, Cowboys force play and lose the ball. Souths in possession with 30 seconds remaining.
FULL TIME: Rabbitohs win 16-14 over the Cowboys in Townsville. The referee copping a huge spray from the crowd. A match worthy of a draw with the outcome being decided by a penalty goal, Souths' defence winning through in the end. For the Cowboys, Shane Tronc, Aaron Payne, Justin Smith and Paul Rauhihi were outstanding up front while Ty Williams made numerous line breaks and joins Johnathan Thurston as the best of the North Queensland backs. For Souths, John Sutton had a top match at five eighth while Peter Cusak was a stand out in the front row and was well supported by Shane Walker and Scott Geddes.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - P Cusack (Rabbitohs) 2 - T Williams (Cowboys) 1 - J Sutton (Rabbitohs) -----------------------------------------