The Warriors NRL finals hopes are all but extinguished however last night's 24-12 loss to North Queensland showed promise that they're not ready to throw the towel in just yet.
The four-tries-to-two defeat leaves them in 12th position on the NRL ladder and four points outside the top eight. They now need to win at least five of their remaining six games to have any hope of scraping in to the playoffs.
It would take a miracle for that to happen given they haven't managed more than two wins in a row and won just one away match so far this season, but coach Stephen Kearney insists they won't die wondering.
"As long as there's a possibility (of making the top eight), we'll keep working away," said Kearney.
"The point I made to the guys in the sheds, is that I thought the effort there tonight was wonderful with not a great deal of reward, and if we keep that type of energy and effort and just be a little bit better with execution in a couple of areas, I'm sure we'll get on the right side of the scoreboard."
Despite the absence of star halfback Shaun Johnson and prop James Gavet through injury, the Warriors produced a committed and energetic performance as they fought to keep their season alive.
The Warriors forwards were strong on both attack and defence and replacement No7 Mason Lino impressed in just his fourth NRL game, while five-eighth Kieran Foran answered his critics with his best performance since the round 14 win over the Titans six weeks ago.
The visitors led early after a try to back-rower Bunty Afoa but conceded two four-pointers before lock Simon Mannering crossed to help level the scores at 12-12 just before halftime.
The Cowboys pushed six points ahead through a penalty goal and try to back-rower Ethan Lowe, but the Warriors refused to go away however poor execution and ill-discipline let them down.
A last-ditch attacking raid and towering bomb from Lino could have paid dividends, but a runaway try to Cowboys wing Javid Bowen sealed their fate in the last seconds.
"I was very pleased with the guys in their effort," said Kearney.
"The way they hung in there with a minute to go, if the ball had have gone to the right hands then we could have ended up pushing through to extra time maybe.
"But I was just really pleased with the way the guys hung in there. It's been a little bit of a disruptive week for us with a couple of guys being ruled out through injury, but the guys just got on with the job tonight and really gave themselves an opportunity late in the match there."
Disappointed captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was pleased with his side's tenacity and hoped they could take some belief into next Friday's do-or-die match against reigning premiers Cronulla at Mt Smart Stadium.
"It is disappointing to go down like that, especially with the fight that we put up," said Tuivasa-Sheck.
"We were pleasing in lots of areas but, again, we don't go home with the two points. But we've still got more games to go and I'm proud of the boys' efforts and hopefully we can build on this."