Cowboys book quarter-final berth
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have cruised into the quarter-finals with a 19-8 win over the Rabbitohs to secure top spot in the Hunua Pool.
It didn't take long for the Cowboys juggernaut to click into the gear with the tournament favourites crossing through Javid Bowen from their first set of six.
Shaun Hudson doubled their lead when he touched down in the opposite corner but the Rabbitohs pegged one back through former Panther Braidon Burns to slash the deficit to four points at the break.
A defiant Cody Walker fought his way through several would-be defenders to level the scores, only for the Cowboys to respond through two of their biggest stars.
Rampaging lock Jason Taumalolo bulldozed his way deep into Rabbitohs territory, and two plays later Kalyn Ponga skipped through the defence for a superb bonus zone try.
Anthony Cherrington thought he'd crashed over in the bonus zone but the referee ruled the Rabbitoh had promoted the football illegally.
It would prove a costly miss as Bowen sliced through for his second to secure top spot in the pool and a date with the Storm in the quarter-finals.
Cowboys 19 (Javid Bowen 2, Shaun Hudson, Kalyn Ponga tries; 1 goal) def. Rabbitohs 8 (Braidon Burns, Cody Walker tries). Half-time: 8-4.
First published on NRL.com.