Ain't no party like a Mt Smart party.

The unbeaten Warriors turned it on in front of a sold-out home crowd to extend their historic season-opening run to five straight wins with a 22-12 victory at their Penrose home base tonight.

Apart from the club's debut season of 1995, the 25,600 strong crowd was the club's biggest for a regular season match and the first time the ground was sold-out for a non-finals game since 25,070 fans watched them thrash Manly back in 2007.

The result was the Warriors' first win over North Queensland since 2014, while last year's grand finalists continue to look for answers after slumping to their fourth loss in a row.


As it happened: Warriors beat Cowboys

Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson made a successful return after missing last week's win over the Roosters with a groin strain, while former captain Simon Mannering ran on to rapturous applause off the bench midway through the first half to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Left wing Ken Maumalo opened the scoring for the home side before right wing David Fusitu'a claimed his third try-scoring double of the season to help the Warriors to an 18-6 halftime lead, with right wing Kyle Feldt scoring for the Cowboys.

A Johnson penalty extended the lead in the 53rd minute, but the Cowboys kept the contest alive with fullback Ben Hampton crossing after sustained pressure to help them back to within eight points, but the Warriors were good enough to close the game out.

And after throwing the ball around over the first four rounds the Warriors showed great control on attack in the first half, making just two offloads, before 12 followed among some loose play in the second-half, with desperate defence providing the cornerstone for the win.

North Queensland's big name forward pack looked pedestrian compared to the Warriors big men, who smashed and bashed their way through the middle and on both sides of the ruck to constantly put the defence on the back foot.

Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston had a tough night defending out wide where he found himself targeted by the Warriors right-edge attack, although the former Kangaroos and Queensland star tried everything to inspire his side.

The Warriors roared out of the blocks with Maumalo diving in for the first try after five minutes but it was their defence that had the crowd cheering as they went on to repeatedly deny the visitors in their attempts to reply.


North Queensland frittered away numerous scoring chances before Johnson floated a cut-out ball for Fusitu'a to stroll in for his first try to help extend the lead to 12-0 after 27 minutes.

The Tongan international was in again seven minutes later when Johnson combined with Hiku, who sent a flick pass to his outside for Fusitu'a to claim his double.

The Warriors defence eventually cracked when Feldt scored his side's first points, with Thurston's sideline conversion narrowing the margin to 12 before halftime.

The Warriors put themselves under pressure through a string of errors and penalties in the third quarter before Hampton dived over, but that was as close as the Cowboys came.

The Warriors remain tied at the top of the ladder with the unbeaten Dragons, and have two more home games coming up against Brisbane and St George Illawarra.

Warriors 22 (David Fusitu'a 2, Ken Maumalo tries, Shaun Johnson 3 cons, 2 pens)
Cowboys 12 (Kyle Feldt, Ben Hampton tries, Johnathan Thurston 2 cons)