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A spirited early second-half fightback was all for nought as the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under-20s team crashed to back-to-back losses with South Sydney triumphing 32-18 at Redfern Oval today.

Three weeks after edging perennial National Youth Competition heavyweights Penrith in Townsville, the Cowboys have lost 31-18 and 32-18 to teams outside the top eight as their premiership aspirations in this final year of the competition hits another hurdle.

It’s now nine wins and eight losses for Aaron Payne’s young charges as they continue to sit in the bottom half of the eight with seven regular season games remaining.

Things started brightly for the visitors as young fullback Kalyn Ponga crossed early, with Jake Clifford converting for a 6-0 advantage.

But that was to be the only joy for the Cowboys in the first half as the Rabbitohs ran in four unanswered tries to hold a 20-6 advantage at the break.

Payne’s players rallied, though, in the second as centre Kurt Wiltshire and halfback Clifford saluted to get the Cowboys to within two points, 20-18.

But Souths got a second wind with tries in the 65th and 79th minutes to put a real exclamation point on the contest.

The Cowboys NYC team next turn their sights on the enigmatic New Zealand Warriors at 1300SMILES Stadium next Saturday.

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS NYC 32 (Jalen Reweiti 2, Blake Manowski, Harry Leddy, Nick Mougios, Gabe Hamlin tries; Dean Hawkins 4 goals) def NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS NYC 18 (Kalyn Ponga, Kurt Wiltshire, Jake Clifford tries; Jake Clifford 3 goals) at Redfern Oval.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.