A strong South Sydney comeback has made them the second team to take two wins in the 2015 Auckland Nines and dented the Cowboys' hopes of backing up their 2014 tournament win with a 19-14 defeat.
The Rabbitohs opened the scoring three minutes in through prop Chris Grevsmuhl, whose barge over looked like it may have been held up by the defence but was awarded. Adam Reynolds snipered the drop-goal conversion from out wide.
A classy bat-back from Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt allowed Gavin Cooper to cross in the corner and the defending champs hit the lead shortly after when Rob Lui's angled run and pass put Justin O'Neill over.
North Queensland quickly stretched their lead through another try to O'Neill when he found himself on the end of some good short passing at the line to make it 12-6 at the break.
With the Cowboys possessing all the momentum the Rabbitohs needed something special to turn it around, and they got it from rampaging prop George Burgess who produced one of his classic barge-over tries in the bonus point zone to reclaim the lead 13-12.
They pulled further away when retired club great Matt King got his name on the scoresheet in his Nines cameo. With the clock ticking down the Cowboys needed a converted try but Lui's chip to the in-goal behind the posts was marked by the Rabbitohs on full-time to seal the 19-14 win.
King was delighted to post a try in what is turning out to be a very successful weekend for South Sydney.
"It was pretty cool, very cool actually. Footy's been wonderful to me and I'm having another great weekend because of it," King said.
"We had a bit of a shocker in the first half. We're just lucky the Cows couldn't kick a field goal, we would've been in a bit of strife there. We were down six at half-time, then decided to hold the ball, catch a few kickoffs. Once possession evens up and we hold the ball, usually good things happen. That's not just for us, that's every team.
"They're a good team, the Cowboys, they've got another strong team here this weekend. There's some big dudes there – Jason Taumalolo and all those fellas. So really good to beat them."
The centre downplayed any chance of a comeback to rugby league beyond the Nines cameos, however.
"Twenty-minute games, one weekend a year I reckon I can handle," he said. "But if I had to play 80-minute games for 26 weeks straight it'd be a different kettle of fish I reckon. Definitely no comeback plans for me."