MACKAY - North Queensland Cowboys defeated New Zealand Warriors 32-14 in an NRL trial in Mackay tonight.
The Cowboys' star off-season recruits, five-eighth Jason Smith and backrower Sione Faumuina, both impressed.
But the Warriors dropped far too much ball, allowing the Cowboys to dictate terms in front of about 8000 people at a temporary stadium created at the Brothers football ground, Leprechaun Park.
Organisers were expecting to break the A$1 ($1.13) million mark in funds raised for charities through the sixth annual preseason game held by the Cowboys at Mackay.
The pre-game talking point was the Cowboys' new halves combination of Smith and halfback Johnathan Thurston, and they didn't disappoint.
Smith put the Cowboys ahead early with a long cut-out pass to put winger Brenton Bowen over, and Thurston's slick offload to Jacob Lillyman put them ahead 10-0 at half time.
Fullback Matty Bowen starred in the second half, saving a certain try by running down Warriors winger Manui Vatuvei, scoring himself off a superb inside ball from Thurston and setting up the last try by Ben Famer.
Faumuina, playing for the first time against his old club from which he was sacked last season, played strongly and showed he will be an asset for the Cowboys.
Cowboys second-rower Steve Southern was named man of the match, and the Warriors' best was Lance Hohaia.
NRL trial results
North Queensland Cowboys 32 New Zealand Warriors 14
Newcastle Knights 30 Penrith Panthers 18
Manly Sea Eagles 30 Melbourne Storm 20
Gold Coast Titans 22 Parramatta Eels 10
Bulldogs 26 St George Illawarra Dragons 16
Cronulla Sharks 22 South Sydney Rabbitohs 4
Brisbane Broncos/Redcliffe Dolphins 18 Canberra Raiders 12