South Sydney finally arrived in season 2008 today, winless up until today – Souths displayed too much desire and an impressive physical presence to out-enthuse the North Queensland Cowboys 28-24. Ably assisted by a redemption-seeking David Kidwell – the Bunnies took only a few minutes to fire up and start reeling in North Queensland after the visitors put on an early try.
After being in the headlines all week over alcohol issues, former captain David Kidwell certainly didn’t dwell on the news reports and lost captaincy, he simply got stuck into a mountain of work and was one of the best for Souths today. Continually running for big metres and throwing every into charges and tackles, Kidwell sent a big message to coach Jason Taylor that he will fight for respect once more.
Coach Taylor labeling Kidwell’s performance in the Rabbitohs’ breakthrough win as one of his best of the season, the New Zealand enforcer believes he is one step closer to reclaiming the co-captaincy.
â€œIt was pretty tough for me during the week, obviously. People said I should have been dropped along with the other four players, but losing the captaincy was a big thing for me,â€ said Kidwell.
â€œI love leading this club with Roy and I said to JT whatever I can do to get it back straight away I’ll do and he just said I had to do the right things on and off the field.
The Bunnies had the backing of co-owner Russell Crowe today, the high profile celebrity at ANZ Stadium for the first time in 2008 – pumping his fists and cheering on his team as they carved out the win. The win today sees the Rabbitohs snap a 10-game losing run and moves them to 2 competition points. With byes in hand and other results going their way around them – they are still a chance of making this seasons semi-finals if they can remain enthusiastic and healthy.
John Sutton and Beau Champion both bagged try-scoring doubles, with hooker George Ndaira, new half Isaac Luke and prop Roy Asotasi all impressive in handing the travel-shy Cowboys their second straight loss and third defeat in four away games this season.
Fullback Matt Bowen was a late inclusion for the Cowboys after being ruled out on Friday with a knee injury, but despite flashes of brilliance and superb scrambling defence, North Queensland were simply out-classed by a determined Bunnies.
â€œWe knew it was going to be tough, I suppose, they were just a bit more hungry than us,â€ Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston said.
North Queensland twice grabbed the lead in the first half, but it was the Bunnies who went into the break 18-12 ahead after Nigel Vagana scored the try of the game in the 26th minute, finishing off some great lead-up work from Ndaira, whose chip kick was regathered by Luke to deliver the final pass.
Sutton was the star in the second half after backing up from Friday’s City-Country game, scoring two tries to secure a much-needed victory for Souths.
Taylor said the four players dropped would get their chance to regain their place by playing New South Wales Cup next week with Souths having the bye in the NRL.
On Kidwell, Taylor said: â€œHis attitude from the moment I told him what the decision was going to be has been superb. He had a limited pre-season coming back from a knee re-construction and I thought it was one of his better games for the season.