80 min: Out on their feet, the Cowboys concede another try - to George Burgess. Reynolds converts for a 30-12 final scoreline, which catapults the Roosters into top spot.
76 min: Souths finally crack the Cowboys' defence as Bryson Goodwin scores out wide. Reynolds converts. COWBOYS 30-6.
69 min: Linnett makes it a double, scooping up a Chris McQueen knock on and racing some 90m to score. Great chase by Reynolds on one leg. Thurston converts. Who'd have picked such a stunning upset. COWBOYS 30-0.
66 min: Feldt pins Merritt in-goal. His name may suggest otherwise but he's no soft touch this bloke.
62 min: Cowboys dig the knife deeper into the Bunnies as Robert Lui crosses after more brilliant ball movement. Linnett was again heavily involved. Thurston raises the flags. COWBOYS 24-0.
62 min: Feldt flies high to defuse a bomb. Tremendous debut by the 21-year-old.
55 min: There's no denying the ever-present Linnett this time as he bursts onto a deft short ball from Bowen to score. Long way back for the Rabbitohs now. Thurston makes it three from four. Where has this form from the Cowboys been all year? COWBOYS 18-0.
51 min: Brilliant tackle by Feldt, coming from his opposite wing to drag down a runaway Nathan Merritt. Certain try saved.
48 min: Rabbitohs fans would have had their hearts in their mouths when Adam Reynolds went down injured clutching at his left knee. He is back on his feet now but not moving freely.
46 min: NO TRY! Cowboys denied two tries in two minutes. A Rabbitohs defender deemed to have been obstructed as Thurston dummied his way over. Again the referee's call was overturned by the men upstairs. The crowd is not happy!
44 min: NO TRY! Video refs overturn the referee's call, ruling Kane Linnett knocked on a rolling ball before scoring. Tough call.
Sutton reportedly may have suffered syndesmosis, the same injury that could sideline Ben Barba for the rest of the preliminary rounds. Sutton also reportedly heard a crack when his leg was pinned under a defender. Will have X-rays tomorrow.
39 min: TRY! The Cowboys bring the crowd to their feet with a try to Tariq Sims, backing up a break from Thurston, who split the defence with his signature show-and-go. Thurston adds the extras and the Cowboys take a 12-point lead into the half-time break. COWBOYS 12-0.
36 min: Huge blow for Souths as John Sutton is helped off the field with an ankle injury. Luke Keary replaces Sutton.
35 min: Both sides having trouble with their handling tonight. Maybe the warm weather is making the ball slippery.
32 min: Thurston extends the Cowboys' lead with a penalty goal. Jeff Lima on report for a late hit. COWBOYS 6-0.
27 min: Cowboys survive again after Dylan Farrell knocks on when Souths had created an overlap on their right-hand side.
25 min: Good defence by the Cowboys preserves their 4-0 lead but they turn the ball over soon after.
23 min: 40-20 by Adam Reynolds, his third of the season, gives the Rabbitohs' their first chance inside the Cowboys' 20m area.
21 min: Feldt, off another Bowen cut-out, goes close to scoring on debut.
18 min: Great line defence by the Bunnies is undone by a handling error by Roy Asotasi.
Roosters supporters would be cheering on the Cowboys tonight. A Souths loss would give the Roosters the competition lead for the first time this season.
10 min: Nice clearing kick from late inclusion Robert Lui pins Souths deep in their own half.
5 min: Cowboys open the scoring. A terrific cut-out pass from Matt Bowen puts Kyle Feldt into space and the debutant draws fullback Nathan Merritt and sends Brent Tate in for only his sixth try of the season. Thurston fails to convert. COWBOYS 4-0.
4 min: Cowboys attack the Rabbitohs' line was the visitors are equal to the challenge.
Cowboys players link arms and form a circle to pay their respects during a minute's silence for the late Graham Murray, the former Cowboys coach and Rabbitohs player.
1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville, Saturday 7.30pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 9 2013 - Souths 28 bt Cowboys 10 at ANZ Stadium
Head-to-head: Cowboys 9 Souths 13 drawn 1
Referees: Adam Devcich, Luke Phillips
TV: Live, FoxSports 1
TAB: Cowboys $3.25 Souths $1.35 Draw $29.00
FootyTab: Cowboys +8.5
Phil Mitchell writes: Souths return to Townsville for the first in four years to face a North Queensland side whose bitterly disappointing season is only six weeks from coming to a merciful end. Only a few months ago this loomed as a clash between the two premiership heavyweights. But after Brisbane ended their finals hopes last week, the Cowboys will offer little more than nuisance value. So much more was expected of a team containing the talents of Thurston, Scott, Tamou, Tate and co, and unsurprisingly the Cowboys’ failure has cost coach Neil Henry his job. The last time Souths played at this ground they were thrashed 46-12. Don’t be surprised to see a similar scoreline – in favour of the Rabbitohs.
Phil's tip: Rabbitohs by 20
AAP writes: Unless the Roosters misfire, the Rabbitohs must win to retain top spot and should do so with the Cowboys’ season on life support. But six points out of the eight, the lowly Cowboys haven’t completely given up the ghost and are vowing to send sacked coach Neil Henry out with a bang by winning six straight to sneak into the finals. That would be some turnaround after losing their past three. Young gun Luke Keary has again been named on extended bench despite his two-try salvo as a super-sub against the Gold Coast, while veteran Matt King has retained spot in the starting side after a superb return after
Key: One of the anomalies in sport is that teams tend to lift following the sacking of their coach - in ways that would previously have kept the coach’s job safe. The Cowboys are in desperate need of inspiration in any way, shape or form.
COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Kyle Feldt, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston (capt), Michael Morgan, Matthew Scott (capt), Robert Lui, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Joel Riethmuller. Interchange: Scott Moore, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims, Scott Bolton, Rory Kostjasyn (two to be omitted).
RABBITOHS: Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Bryson Goodwin, Dylan Walker, Matt King, John Sutton (capt), Adam Reynolds, Sam Burgess, Issac Luke, George Burgess, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Ben Lowe. Interchange: Luke Keary, Roy Asotasi, Jeff Lima, Thomas Burgess, Dave Tyrrell, Justin Hunt (two to be omitted).