Thurston thrill-show sinks Souths summit step

Johnathan Thurston has run a masterclass of kicking, in helping his side to knock over second placed South Sydney, 22-10 in front of, 17,171 fans at Stadium Australia tonight.

It was all to play for, after Parramatta shocked the current leaders, Manly-Warringah last night, so South Sydney were primed for a big performance. North Queensland, were looking to clamp down their finals spot somewhere, that fortune hadn't favoured them in recent history, giving us a big clash. 

The tone was set, early on but it was the visitors who, took the initiative. North Queensland completed 20/20 of their sets in the opening half, dominating a Rabbitohs pack, that received deserved plaudits over the last few weekends. Jason Taumalolo, Matt Scott and James Tamou bent the line and the keep them on the back foot. 

Taumalolo wasn't just a metre-eater though, the second-rower ran the staggered line from a Thurston pass, making headway for the try-line. It made a statement after 15 minutes. It was 8-nil but the noticeable thing, was the metres being made, as the Cowboys past halfway on each of their sets. 

Once they established the position, it was left to the wizardry of one J. Thurston, to spellbind the Rabbitohs. The halfback had the ball on a string, waiting until the precise moment to send Kyle Feldt, the centre playing due to Matthew Wright's backdated suspension, to dive over for the first of his brace. 

His passing game was sublime but the kicking game was the telling factor, of the magic produced by Thurston tonight. He tormented Lote Tuiqiri the entire night, pinning him back with chipped kicks, forcing dropouts. This led to Feldt completing his brace before the break, after he was turned inside by Moga, 16-nil at the break and one shell shocked Souths side. 

Their perfection may have ended 45 minutes into the contest but North Queensland weren't about to let the lead slip, as they went again, dominating the Souths side. Once again Thurston trapped the chrome-domed Tuiqiri and it was a set play, from Morgan to Winterstein that extended the lead to 22. 

Souths would put themselves on the scoresheet, eventually, as an improvised move, found Inglis on the inside before he sent a pass inside to Joe Picker to slide in under several defenders. It would be the closest to clicking, the second placed side, would get, as Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary couldn't get their games in order plus the former left the field, with a hamstring injury.

They added a second try late in the piece, as Dylan Walker filled in, at hooker firing a pass to Alex Johnston, to score his 16th try of the season and almost sew up the rookie of the year award.

In the end, North Queensland led by maestro Thurston, showed the Rabbitohs, a clinic in pressure and forward play, to put them in a comfortable position to make the finals for third year in a row. For the South Sydney fans, it was a massive chance lost, to leapfrog Manly into top position with a clash against a resurgent Canterbury-Bankstown to come.


Match Details
South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 North Queensland Cowboys 22
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Crowd: 17171
Halftime Score: South Sydney Rabbitohs 0 North Queensland Cowboys 16

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Johnathan Thurston
2 points - Michael Morgan
1 point - Jason Taumalolo

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (10)
Tries: Joe Picker, Alex Johnston
Field Goals:
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (1/1), Issac Luke (0/1)
Penalty Goals:

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (22)
Tries: Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt (2), Antonio Winterstein
Field Goals:
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (2/4)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (1/1)


LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

TEAM CHANGES:

South Sydney are unchanged from the side, who were convincing winners against the Brisbane Broncos last Thursday night.

North Queensland have a few changes in their line-up. Firstly Matthew Wright is out, due to the fuss surrounding the ASADA investigation replaced in the centres by Kyle Feldt. Glenn Hall goes to the bench, for Gavin Cooper, where Hall will be joined by the returning test prop, James Tamou. Kick=off at 7:35pm AEST.

Welcome to a soggy ANZ Stadium after the deluge recently, for what will be a winter warmer of a clash, South Sydney hosting North Queensland. Souths have been in irresistible form in recent weeks, rolling over Manly and Brisbane. The former lost last night, so Souths can take top position going into the final two weeks.

For North Queensland, they are just hanging on, to their spot in the top eight. A win tonight, on their travels will do wonders in repelling the advancing forces of Brisbane, New Zealand and St George. It's a big welcome back for James Tamou, as we are moments away from the kick-off.

Here comes the Cowboys, to the imperial march, looking to march their way to the finals again. The drums start and the fans are on their feet, as Glory Glory rings through a spacious ANZ Stadium, as South Sydney make their way out, well eventually..

1: KICK-OFF! Cowboys with first use..

3: Great defense thus far from the Cowboys. Kyle Feldt it Inglis then with some help, took the fullback over the sideline. Good chance here for the visitors.

5: SIX MORE.. as Johnston just kicked it right back to Lui.

5: PENALTY against Walker, for hanging on like a bad smell. Cowboys peppering the line here.

7: A second PENALTY against Walker, for a high shot on fellow bantamweight, Michael Morgan. Thurston goes for the two.

7: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Penalty goal attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

No trouble for JT, as he pilots it over.

14: Cowboys owning the ball currently, forcing a second dropout from Thurston's boot.

15: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Jason Taumalolo. Kick to come.

Thurston with some magic there. He took it to the line, hit Taumalolo who was halfway through the gap, no one was stopping the rampaging, second-rower there, as he opens the scoring.

16: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Thurston's second kick of the night, is slightly wide, can he make it 8-nil? Yes he can, as it hooked inside.

20: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Kyle Feldt. Kick to come.

It's a Cowboys ambush! It was started by a brilliant return from Michael Morgan, who cut a swathe through the defense before being corralled. Late in the count, Thurston delayed the ball enough for Feldt to cross in the corner.

21: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.

Thurston steps in, to make it fourteen to the good.. The Queensland halfback can't make it 3/3

23: PENALTY Souths - holding down. They will get an easy piggyback now.

25: UNFORCED ERROR SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Kirisome Auva'a makes an unforced error.

Rabbitohs almost respond through Inglis and Walker but it is defused. Auva'a finds himself in dummy-half and a sneaky little fumble is spied.

27: PENALTY - Souths, Cowboys were inside the ten.

29: An improvised kick from Walker, who just stabbed it for Tuiqiri in the air, Winterstein was there to recover though, so six more in-coming.

31: PENALTY NTH QLD - Much needed after twelve tackles on their line. George Burgess was a touch too aggressive.

33: PENALTY Souths - Good take from Johnston and a ruck from Auva'a earned that whistle.

35: Thurston has it on a string atm. He kicks through the line, forcing Tuqiri to make it a dropout.

36: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Kyle Feldt. Kick to come.

Well worked again from the Cowboys. The run-around created an extra player that gave Moga space to turn Feldt inside for his double.

38: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.

Thurston to make it eighteen, swings it into the post.

40: HALFTIME :: Well that hasn't gone to script, Thurston has been majestic as Cowboys lead 16-0.

40: We're back for the second stanza, can North Queensland keep this up? or will the South Sydney machine kick into gear. We're about to find out, as the Cowboys head onto ANZ Stadium again.

41: Souths are back onto the field, as the rain falls heavier here at the Olympic stadium. Here we go again!

41: PENALTY from the opening start for the home side. G. Burgess had it stripped.

42: Followed by another PENALTY, for slowing down the ruck.

44: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Kyle Feldt makes an unforced error.

Feldt took the chance as Inglis swept across, knocking down his pass.

46: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Michael Morgan makes an unforced error.

Matt Scott tried to read the kick, trying to take it knocks it backwards, forcing Morgan to knock on.

47: VIDEO REFEREE: Luke Keary claiming one from a kick through, checking grounding.

47: RED LIGHTS..NO TRY! Keary juuuust couldn't bring it in. PENALTY anyway, for the five-eighth holding someone back.

50: Stupidity from Inglis, he just nudged Feldt as he tried to return the ball. PENALTY.

51: Inch perfect once again from Thurston, as he trapped Tuiqiri into tapping it dead. Six more incoming.

53: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Antonio Winterstein. Kick to come.

Well worked set play once again. Gavin Cooper propped himself as he was tackled, offloaded to Morgan who gave the pass to Winterstein for the try.

54: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Thurston once again, from the sideline, hooks it inside the upright.

56: VIDEO REFEREE: Checking if Picker got it down.

56: TRY SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Scored by Joe Picker. Kick to come.

GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! A kick inside finds Inglis who throws a massive pass to Picker who slides in.

57: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.

Reynolds pots it over.

59: PENALTY Souths - Morgan made a meal of the catch and Thurston touched it offside.

59: UNFORCED ERROR SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Chris McQueen makes an unforced error.

The timing hasn't been there tonight from Souths, as McQueen spilled it.

60: PENALTY North Queensland - McQueen tried too hard, to make up for his error, knocking the ball out.

61: Thurston is just tormeting Lote tonight, with kicks behind him. He forces another dropout.

66: FORWARD PASS.. from dummy-half, the swarming defense of the visitors has troubled the Rabbitohs.

66: PUSH IN THE SCRUM.. Souths have it.

69: UNFORCED ERROR SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Dylan Walker makes an unforced error.

Great tackle on Walker from Feldt there, forces the error.

70: PENALTY Cowboys, high tackle on Sims. As the referees sort out the pushing, Adam Reynolds departs.

71: PENALTY Cowboys - Keary was interfering with the ruck.

74: PENALTY Souths, followed by a second, as Ashton Sims collars Issac Luke.

76: Morgan sweeps around the back, cleaning up a Sam Burgess kick for a Rabbitohs repeat.

75: TRY SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Scored by Alex Johnston. Kick to come.

Simples. Dylan Walker sprung into dummy-half, to fire one for Johnston to slide over.

76: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Conversion attempt by Issac Luke unsuccessful.

As Reynolds is off, Luke is kicking but puts it wide.

80: FULLTIME :: Cowboys have shocked the world, defeating Souths, 22-10 here at ANZ Stadium.

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