Warriors 24 Cowboys 14
North Queensland's nightmare run in the National Rugby League continued tonight despite a gutsy display, when they went down 14-24 to the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland.
It was the bottom-placed Cowboys' club-equalling 10th defeat in a row, although they remained in contention until the final stages.
For the Warriors, who came into the weekend in 13th spot, it was a second successive win, a feat they have managed only once before this season.
The Warriors struck first after 16 minutes when a break by hard-working centre Brent Tate set up field position.
They worked the ball back to the left-hand side and centre Sonny Fai, who had shown his strength with the ball in hand earlier in the match, forced his way over.
The home side continued to attack down the left and the tactic paid dividends again 10 minutes later.
A cut-out pass from halfback Grant Rovelli put winger Aidan Kirk in space to cross in the corner.
Neither try was converted, but the Warriors appeared to be comfortable at 8-0, with their defence solid and North Queensland lacking incisiveness in attack.
But they let the Cowboys back into the contest just out from halftime thanks to an error.
Winger Malo Solomona was impressive in defusing a bomb, but then fumbled ball in the play-the-ball.
From the ensuing possession, winger John Williams dotted down from an Aaron Payne grubber.
Down 8-4 at halftime, the Cowboys hit the front six minutes after the restart thanks to a piece of Johnathan Thurston magic.
A final-tackle chip-and-pass from the halfback led to Williams going over unopposed.
Thurston landed the night's first goal to put his side into a 10-8.
The Warriors hit back five minutes later, a second successive set finished off when substitute back Jerome Ropati went over.
They went further in front when a Rovelli pass found second rower Simon Mannering on an angled run for a try under the posts.
Fullback Lance Hohaia's first successful kick of the night took the score to 18-10.
However, the Cowboys refused to lie down and a Thurston pass created the opportunity for centre Ashley Graham to score and close the gap to four points midway through the second spell.
But the Warriors made the game safe with seven minutes left when the Cowboys failed to tidy up a Nathan Fien bomb, Mannering was first to the rebound and his pass put Micheal Luck over.