A poor second half ruined the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ chances of ending their Toyota Cup losing streak at ANZ Stadium tonight.
Level with South Sydney at half time after scoring the final two tries of the first half, North Queensland was outscored 26-6 in the second half with their only try of the second 40 minutes coming near full time.
The 36-16 defeat against the 13th-placed Rabbitohs leaves the Cowboys with just one win from the first eight rounds and they also have a growing injury toll, with key forward Chris Grevsmuhl (back) and five-eighth Clifford Beetham (hyper-extended knee) not lasting the 80 minutes.
The Cowboys’ completion rate, a problem that has plagued them all year, was again below 70% and their missed tackle count of 37 gave the Rabbitohs too many opportunities.
Souths were particularly ruthless down the left side of their attack with centre Jordan Tongahai taking advantage of some poor defence with a hat-trick of tries in an 18-minute period midway through the second half.
He wasn’t the only Rabbitohs outside back to have a big night.
Winger David Sisifa came up with a double, while right centre Siosaia Tanganoa started the scoring with a try in the 15th minute.
Interchange hooker Nathan Norford was the Cowboys’ first try-scorer, finishing off a fine attacking move that started with centre Kyle Feldt making a break down the left flank.
The Junior Kangaroo found Grevsmuhl backing up on the inside and the second-rower flung a perfect pass to Norford who had a short run to the line.
Winger Zac Santo pounced on a grubber kick from Wayne Ulugia for North Queensland’s second try just a few minutes later and could even have had a third had Foster’s crosskick not bounced cruelly away.
Ulugia finished with a match-high 152 metres for the Cowboys, who didn’t have a forward go over the 100-metre mark.
Second-rower Jack Svendsen (28) and hooker Alex Elisala (25) led the tackle count.