An Ed Cowan half century was the highlight in an otherwise disappointing result as the NSW Blues went down to South Australia at Drummoyne Oval.

Cowan (50) was his team's best performer, as the Blues posted 208 runs after winning the toss and electing to bat first.

Nic Maddinson (36), Kurtis Patterson (27) and Moises Henriques (26) all made starts, however none of the Blues were able to capitalise.

Three wicket hauls to Wes Agar (3-38) and Cameron Valente (3-40) helped put the Redbacks on top.

In reply, opening batsmen Alex Carey (43) and Jake Weatherald (37) came out firing, scoring rapidly in the opening overs before the Blues bowlers pegged them back.

Doug Bollinger (3-35) and Trent Copeland (1-40) managed to give their team mates a look at the Redbacks batting middle order, but the damage had already been done.

South Australia claimed a bonus point win, chasing the total down in 39.2 overs thanks in part to a man-of-the-match innings from Callum Ferguson (73no).

The Blues have now lost two of their opening three matches, with fixtures against Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia remaining.

NSW returns to Drummoyne Oval for a day-night match against Queensland this Friday.