Cowboys end five-game loss streak, add to Souths misery

Joel Gould |

The Cowboys have snapped their losing streak, hanging on to beat the Rabbitohs in Brisbane.
The Cowboys have snapped their losing streak, hanging on to beat the Rabbitohs in Brisbane.

North Queensland have ended a five-game losing streak with a 28-22 win over South Sydney as winger Braidon Burns scored a double against his former club.

Souths conceded 28 points for the ninth time in 10 games this season, adding to the all-time premiership record they had earlier set.

Fullback Latrell Mitchell had his moments of brilliance at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, but overall the Rabbitohs’ commitment to defence was poor and they remain on the bottom of the ladder after six consecutive losses.

Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs scores a try.
South Sydney’s Latrell Mitchell showed flashes of brilliance against the Cowboys, scoring a try. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

“I was happy that we are getting closer (to a win). It’s another step in the right direction for us,” Rabbitohs acting coach Ben Hornby said.

Cowboys coach Todd Payten conceded the win was “ugly”, but there was a measure of relief.

“We had to scrap and scrape and came away with an ugly win,” he said.

“When you lose more than three on the trot the first (win) is always hardest go get. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy.”

Three Cowboys drove Mitchell back 10m with his first carry, but the talismanic fullback’s opening half only improved from that moment.

Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater’s ball-playing nous set up centre Viliami Vailea for the opening try.

Centre Valentine Holmes then leapt to snaffle a bomb, found winger Murray Taulagi, and his one-handed offload sent captain Tom Dearden over to score. 

Tom Dearden.
Tom Dearden crashes over for one of his two tries on the night against Souths. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

Mitchell powered past six Cowboys defenders to score, then sent winger Alex Johnston over for his 189th career try with a slick cutout pass in the first half.

His towering bombs were also a handful for opposite number Drinkwater.

Veterans Cody Walker and Damien Cook both scored second-half tries for the Bunnies with individual brilliance to set up a thrilling finish.

Burns, signed by North Queensland from the Rabbitohs a fortnight ago, crashed over in the corner on the cusp of halftime.

He made it a double when he scored off a Chad Townsend bomb.

The 27-year-old played five games in NSW Cup for Souths in 2024 and was working for the club in an off-field role before joining the Cowboys.

North Queensland's Braidon Burns (left).
North Queensland’s Braidon Burns (left) scored two tries against his former club, South Sydney. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

“It’s a great story and he’s a great kid,” Payten said.

“We were looking at him for a couple of weeks prior to signing him. Our recruitment manager Dane Campbell went to Sydney to meet with him.

“Braidon’s body is in good shape. He’s had some injuries in the past, but he’s played all his footy this year and a large chunk of footy at the back end of last year. 

“He has fit in well. He’s articulate, has good energy around the group, and to play against his former team … it’s strange how things work out.”

Burns played one game for their feeder club Northern Pride last week and scored two tries, before becoming an unlikely Magic Round hero in front of 50,708 fans.

North Queensland were well served by skipper Dearden, who scored a crucial second-half try.