Much, much better - but still not good enough. The Warriors have fallen 24-12 to the Cowboys in Townsville, in a result that probably ends their finals hopes.
They probably deserved more, and forced an incredible defensive effort from the home side.
The result was in the balance until the final seconds, when Javid Bowen regathered and sprinted 80 metres to score, after the Warriors lost the ball pressing the Cowboys line.
The performance gave hope that the Warriors haven't thrown in the towel, though the prospect of September football is surely gone.
There was a lot to like about last night. The Warriors brought spirit, hunger and genuine physicality to their work, in one of their better performances across the Tasman this season. Their defence - especially on their goal line was impressive - and the game had the intensity of a finals match.
There was also some polish to the Warriors' play, with halves Mason Lino and Kieran Foran forcing goal line drop outs at will for periods. It begged the question; where was this kind of performance and attitude last week? But that is the enduring mystery of the Warriors, who can't match performances with occasions.
They weren't helped by an inconsistent display by the match officials, who served up some home town oriented decisions, especially in the second half.
The match turned in the 49th minute, when Foran looked certain to score, before having the ball knocked out of his grasp by Cowboys captain Gavin Cooper. An Ethan Lowe try broke the 12-12 dead lock minutes later, and the Cowboys had the momentum to get home.
The Auckland club were up against it last night. Not only were they facing an awful record in the tropical North - they had only won once in Townsville since 2002 - but they were missing the injured Shaun Johnson while James Gavet was ruled out with a broken arm hours before kickoff. He was replaced by Tongan-born Chris Satae, impressive in the reserve grade pack this year.
Just like last week, the Warriors opened the scoring, with Bunty Afoa crossing in the ninth minute. The try, which was Afoa's first since his memorable double in Perth last year, was a product of sustained pressure, which finished with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck putting Afoa through a yawning hole.
The visitors completely dominated the first quarter but the Cowboys regained some momentum through Justin O'Neill's try in the 20th minute, after some swift ball movement caught out the Warriors left edge.
The Warriors then had their chances; Mason Lino was grounded centimetres short - by an offside defender who went unpunished - while Ligi Sao should have scored from close range, before their play got a bit scrappy. They coughed up possession, then gave up needless penalties and the sequence ended with an inevitable, but lucky Cowboys try. But they showed impressive spirit to force a mistake, and Mannering's try on halftime was a tonic.
But the first set of the second half summed up why the Warriors are such a frustrating side. After advancing 70 metres, they failed to get the 5th tackle kick away and then gave away a penalty. Still they pressed after that and Foran came agonisingly close - stopped by one of the plays of the season by Cooper - as the Warriors got no dividend from three repeat sets before Lowe broke through, again down the Warriors left edge.
Cowboys 24 (J O'Neill, J Bowen 2, E Lowe tries; E Lowe 4 goals)
Warriors 12 (B Afoa, S Mannering tries; I Luke 2 goals)