Cowboys hold off Panthers, Rabbitohs account for Knights

The Cowboys have posted an upset win against the Panthers in Bathurst, while the Rabbitohs are celebrating their triumph over the Knights in Newcastle.

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Cowboys grab much-needed victory against Panthers

Johnathan Thurston's farewell tour is back on track after North Queensland survived a furious second-half onslaught from Penrith to claim a close 26-20 victory in Bathurst.

The Cowboys appeared set to bomb a 20-0 lead when Peter Wallace scored two tries in the space of as many minutes to get Penrith within four points with 30 minutes to go on Friday.

Thurston then gave his team some breathing room when he latched onto a Justin O'Neill backtap, only for Panthers winger Tyrone Phillips to complete his double not long after.

External Link: Panthers v Cowboys Summary

However, on a night where temperatures dropped to four degrees, Thurston gave a record 10,287 crowd at Carrington Park a game to remember by nailing a clutch 70th-minute penalty goal.

The Cowboys, who had lost six of their previous seven, then held on to claim their third win of the year.

Playing in the final season of his career, Thurston finished with a personal haul of 14 points, taking him past Jason Taylor as the fourth-highest point scorer of all time on 2,110.

External Link: Panthers v Cowboys Chalkboard

The night began horribly for the already-depleted Panthers outfit, with key forward Trent Merrin fracturing his finger in the warm-up, likely putting him out for two weeks.

North Queensland then cut Penrith's left edge to shreds, with Michael Morgan breaking his season-long drought and Ben Hampton crossing down the same channel in an opening-quarter blitz.

Then came two Dallin Watene-Zelezniak brain fades in the space of eight minutes, conceding two points with a shove on Coen Hess before being sin-binned for slapping Kyle Feldt.

External Link: Panthers v Cowboys Stats

A cricket score loomed when Gavin Cooper crashed over in the 33rd minute, however Panthers debutant Phillips made it a respectable 16-point deficit at the break.

Cowboys forward Shaun Fensom was also marched for a professional foul in the midst of Penrith's second-half fightback, however it was not enough as the Panthers fell to their third loss of the year.

Rabbitohs show class in win over Knights

South Sydney crowds around Cody Walker as he celebrates a try against the Knights.

Damien Cook's New South Wales State of Origin chances have received another boost, as he helped South Sydney to a comfortable 36-18 defeat of Newcastle.

With the Rabbitohs hanging onto the match at 22-12 on the back of a 94 per cent completion rate, Cook put the game beyond doubt midway through the second half when he broke free to run 30 metres and score.

Cook could not have chosen a better moment than on Friday night in Newcastle.

While Blues coach Brad Fittler may not have been in attendance, his two advisors in Danny Buderus and Greg Alexander were.

Buderus too knows the hooking role better than anyone, having played 21 games in the number nine jersey for the Blues.

External Link: Knights v Rabbitohs Summary

The 26-year-old Cook topped 90 metres for the ninth consecutive time this year to maintain his status as easily the best running hooker of the competition.

Fittler has already indicated he could carry a second hooker on the bench, meaning he and chief rival Cameron McInnes are both a chance of selection.

External Link: Knights v Rabbitohs Chalkboard

Five-eighth Cody Walker turned in an emotional display just two days after the death of his mother Lou.

He put Alex Johnston away in Souths' first set for a trailing Robert Jennings to score, before he took their lead to 12-0 moments later when he barged over himself.

It gave the Rabbitohs a lead they never relinquish, as his halves partner Adam Reynolds also put young winger Campbell Graham over in the first half.

External Link: Knights v Rabbitohs Stats

The Knights scored twice just before the break to go to the sheds at 16-12, and they should have drawn level early in the second through a sensational Kalyn Ponga cut-out ball before Ken Sio had the ball knocked out of his hands over the line by Angus Crichton.

Sio's pain was compounded when in the ensuing set he dropped a Reynolds cross-field kick and former Knight Dane Gagai was on the spot to score.


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