Scott's defence leaves its mark
Over the first six weeks of the season Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott had not made the kinds of waves normally associated with an accomplished Test and Origin front-rower, but that all changed on Friday night.
Scott's 132 running metres – only eight more than his 2016 average – were a mere complement to his real impact on the night.
Unfortunately, stats sheets cannot measure the extent of Scott's influence, but it was certainly felt by the Rabbitohs in much the same way Dylan Napa was felt seven days prior.
While Napa gave South Sydney 51 bone-jarring hits over an 80-minute masterclass, Scott only needed 14 tackles to help his side snatch momentum on multiple occasions throughout the game.
First it was his tandem with James Tamou on David Tyrell in the game's very first hit-up, followed by a shot on Kirisome Auva'a that brought about an error which led to the game's first points.
The pattern would emerge throughout each of Scott's involvements, and it drew the attention of his coach.
"I said to him after the game that he's our leader in that pack and that's what I want to see from him. I thought he was excellent, and it really set the tone. The boys get on the back of him and follow him," Paul Green said after the game.
Green noted the Cowboys were in a better position than they were at this time last year, and said the premiers' defence was driving their impeccable attack.
"We don't go out trying to rack up a score, but that's a result of getting a lot of other things right. We probably focus a lot more on 'points against' that we do 'points for', and often that [big score] is a result of how well you are defending," he said.
"I'm really pleased with how the boys are buying into what I'm asking of them, where I'm challenging them and they in themselves are looking for areas to improve, which is good.
"I think the players deserve the credit, they're looking to be the best team that we can be."
Cowboys centre Justin O'Neill added: "The forwards tonight were great. To have a set, then a kick-chase and a set down on their line, then our forwards to line up and put massive shots on and get a knock-on and the ball down in their territory just means so much. Plays like that are massive."