Casuarina defeated South Darwin 25-24 in a thrilling encounter at Rugby Park last night.
Having finished the first round robin cycle in first and second place the clubs were playing for the President’s Cup which brings with it some bragging rights.
The Rabbitohs had defeated the Cougars 24-21 in a thriller when they last met in round two.
Shane Crowley opened the scoring for the Cougars with a quick tap from a penalty then slipped through the defence for a try seven minutes into the match.
South’s took the lead a few minutes later when the giant Sueni Falekakala crashed over with the conversion by Robbie Davis successful.
Then Casuarina regained the ball from the restart and converted the field position to points when loose forward Booby Nurse scored his ninth try of the season.
Nathan Satala added the extras for a five point lead.
Nurse inflicted more pain on the Rabbitohs nine minutes before the break when he too caught the defence unawares taking a quick tap from a penalty and dived over for a try
Satala was unsuccessful with the conversion but the Cougars led 17-7.
South’s were reduced to thirteen players when Rhys Mulholland and Robbie Davis were sin binned for separate incidents one minute apart.
Satala landed a penalty goal on the stroke of half time to send the Cougars to the break leading 20-7.
Casuarina were unable to capitalise on their two player advantage and when the Bunnies returned to a full complement Prop Forward Tom Wright was able to score.
South’s were in a again following a tremendous counter attack from a down field kick which resulted in a try to Jake Rainger and Davis’s conversion had the Rabbitohs trailing by a solitary point.
Rising Star nominee Tyrone Boucher scored in the corner after Satala cut a swathe through the Souths defence but was unable to convert the try.
Casuarina then knocked on from the kick off and Rainger was in for his second try almost immediately.
Davis missed the conversion and the score was 25-24 with five to go.
Davis had opportunities to secure victory with two long range penalty attempts at the two minute and one minute marks that had the distance but went agonisingly wide.
Both kickers were off target with the usually reliable Davis landing two from six while Satala managed two from five.
The victory gives the Cougars a ten point lead in the race for the Minor Premiership over Souths who hold a three point lead over the University who they will meet next week.
In the early match the Pirates piled on the points against Palmerston to win 52-21 after leading 24-14 at half time.
Casuarina 25 B Nurse 2, T Boucher, S Crowley Tries N Satala Conv, Pen def South Darwin 24 J Rainger 2, T Wright, S Falekakala Tries R Davis 2 Conv.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby.