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North Queensland Cowboys tear down South Sydney Rabbitohs

The North Queensland Cowboys have put one of the most tumultuous weeks in the club's history behind them, thrashing premiership contenders South Sydney 30-12 in Townsville.

Following the death of former coach Graham Murray, the board's termination of coach Neil Henry's contract for 2014 and a season-ending injury to retiring lock Dallas Johnson, North Queensland responded in the best possible way defeating the Rabbitohs for the first time since 2009 and keeping their slim finals hopes alive.

They stay in 13th but denied Souths their chance to return to the top of the ladder.

The home team made the perfect start, debutant winger Kyle Feldt setting up a try with his second touch of the ball, laying inside in the fifth minute for Brent Tate.

Cowboys beat Rabbitohs . Getty Images
After an arm wrestle for the rest of the half, South Sydney had Jeff Lima put on report for late contact on Johnathan Thurston.

Captain John Sutton was helped from the field with an ankle sprain that may keep him out for several weeks as Tariq Sims extended the Cowboys lead to 12 on 39 minutes.

The Cowboys continued their momentum after the break and were unlucky not to be a further two tries ahead within five minutes after the video referee twice overturned the on-field officials.

In the most controversial of the decisions, video referee Chris Ward judged Kane Linnett knocked the ball on as he made his way to the tryline, although the replays were unclear.

Just two minutes later, Ward said Gavin Cooper obstructed Ben Te'o from getting near Thurston after he dummied past Reynolds and Nathan Merritt.

But Linnett eventually did find the tryline on 55 minutes, the ball going through the hands of halfback Robert Lui, Thurston and Matt Bowen before the centre barged his way over the line.

He was integral in the next try seven minutes later making a big line break which set up Lui for a try before Linnett made a 90 metre run to grab his second and push the lead out to 30 with 11 minutes still to play.

The Rabbitohs finally breached the Cowboys persistent defence twice in the final five minutes, with tries to Bryson Goodwin and George Burgess.

Debutant Feldt made his presence felt, setting up a try, making 128 metres from 9 runs and producing a stunning leaping try-saving tackle to deny a certain Rabbitohs' try in the 50th minute.

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