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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Despite showing plenty of promise, North Queensland have been no match for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the final match of the NRL Magic Round, falling to a 32-16 loss in front of more than 34,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
It was the Damien Cook show for the Bunnies, with the NSW No. 9 breaking the Cowboys open in the first half, playing a vital part in two of the sides' three first-half tries which saw them race to an 18-0 lead.
The onslaught started after 11 minutes when Sam Burgess climbed over several defenders off a great hole-finding pass by Cook. Burgess' line run saw him crash over and the fun had begun.
Cameron Murray was next on the scoresheet, Reynolds delivering a perfect ball which saw the Rabbitohs lock bag the second try. Things looked horrific for the Cowboys shortly after when Kyle Turner took advantage of some hectic dummy half speed from Cook, sitting on his outside and accelerating toward the line.
Down 18-0 inside the first 25 minutes, Paul Green's men had to find a way to stem the tide, and after finally picking up some decent possession they pressured the Bunnies' line - Justin O'Neill ensuring a contest of it with two tries in the shadows of halftime and the gap was closed to 18-10.
What won the Rabbitohs the game though, was their start to the second half. Cody Walker fooled everyone into thinking he'd dropped the ball and then picked it up and ducked around stunned defenders (who were waiting for a whistle), but the Bunker cleared the handling and the try was awarded.
A few minutes later - around the 50th mark - Cook rode his way over the line on the back of a George Burgess line-break, which saw the prop tackled short of the line courageously by Jordan Kahu before the speedy hooker burst out of dummy-half to put South Sydney out of reach.
The game reached no great heights after the Cook try, with the Cowboys adding a consolation score through replacement centre Tom Opacic eight minutes from fulltime. A final minute penalty goal for Adam Reynolds ensured the Bunnies finished having doubled the Cowboys' score, 32-16 the fulltime ledger.
South Sydney are off to Canberra next weekend, while the Cowboys host Parramatta.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 - North Queensland Cowboys 16
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Halftime Score: South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 North Queensland Cowboys 10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Damien Cook
2 points - Cameron Murray
1 points - Cody Walker
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (32)
Tries: Sam Burgess, Cameron Murray, Kyle Turner, Cody Walker, Damien Cook
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (4/5)
Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds (2/2)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (16)
Tries: Justin O'Neill (2), Tom Opacic
Conversions: Jordan Kahu (2/3)