North Queensland's fast start to the NRL season continued in Townsville, as a composed Cowboys side accounted for South Sydney 20-6.
The battle between the 2014 and 2015 premiers never reached any great heights, but North Queensland were by far the better side and improved to 4-1 for the season.
Souths went toe-for-toe with the Cowboys early, but were unable to match it with Johnathan Thurston's side and they never seriously threatened, after trailing 14-0 at the break.
Cowboys coach Paul Green was impressed with how his team handled the physically demanding conditions.
"It was really physical, particularly in that first half, and both teams completed really well, considering the conditions," Green said. "It made it a real arm-wrestle there, so I'm proud of the way we hung in there.
"A few things went against us and some of that was our fault, but I was really proud of the way we defended off the back of it and managed to get on top towards the back end of the first half."
Returning fullback Lachlan Coote wasted no time on his return, as he nailed an inch-perfect 40-20 from the first kick of the game and, while his team were unable to capitalise, there was no shortage of action early.
The Rabbitohs peppered the Cowboys' line, but the hosts opened the scoring with a Thurston penalty goal after 20 minutes.
Souths second-rower John Sutton was within inches of the game's opening try minutes, but was denied by Michael Morgan defence. The Cowboys five-eighth made it a double blow, when he crashed over for a four-pointer from short range.
The pain continued for Souths, when rookie winger Gideon Gela-Mosby finished off a slick backline movement from the home side. Thurston's conversion gave the Cowboys a 14-point advantage at the break.
A spell from the sapping Townsville heat seemed to do the Bunnies the world of good and they hit back soon after halftime, when centre Robert Jennings caught the Cowboys left edge napping for a classy try.
The revival proved to be short-lived, however, with utility John Asiata hitting Shaun Fensom with a short ball to give the former Raider his first try in Cowboys colours.
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire remained upbeat, despite a second straight loss result, and implored his players to keep working hard.
"There are a lot of good things going on in our team, we just have to work hard at producing that for longer periods of time" he said.
"There were periods throughout that first half, when we were very strong, but there were moments in the game where we just kept letting them off and they're the critical moments in a game.
"The game is about taking those opportunities, when they arise."