The Warriors have snapped a 12-year drought in Townsville thanks to a 20-16 NRL victory over fast-finishing North Queensland.
The New Zealanders held on for their first win of the season as the Cowboys threw everything at them in the final 15 minutes at 1300Smiles Stadium on Saturday night.
They were particularly fortunate that North Queensland winger Kyle Feldt stepped out on his way to the tryline with just over a minute to go.
Feleti Mateo then knocked on in front of his posts only 12 metres out with 36 seconds left, but Kane Linnett dropped the ball in the Cowboys’ last play of the game.
The Warriors’ last win at the Cowboys’ home ground was on April 6, 2002, when Stacey Jones was captain and Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was at fullback.
The visitors came out strongest in each half, putting on two tries in the early stages of each half to down the slow-starting Cowboys.
Going into the match on the back of two losses, the Warriors took the lead in the ninth minute through Glen Fisiiahi, who picked up a bouncing Chad Townsend pass to cross in the right corner.
The winger was in again 10 minutes later, taking advantage of a Michael Morgan’s miss of a Shaun Johnson grubber.
The deficit seemed to spark the Cowboys into action but Antonio Winterstein tripped over his own feet in the 22nd minute and fell just short of the tryline.
The Samoa international made no mistake five minutes later as he again took a Morgan cut-out pass and beat three defenders to force his way over.
Holding an 8-6 lead at halftime and following three consecutive sets, Konrad Hurrell crossed for the visitors with his fourth touch of the ball.
Sione Lousi crossed under the uprights and Johnson converted to give the Kiwis a 14-point advantage with 18 minutes to play.
As the rain began to fall, the Cowboys finally found some spark in attack and Morgan was first on the scene after Fisiiahi dropped a Johnathan Thurston bomb to score on 65 minutes.
The video referee ruled against Tariq Sims who ran through a giant gap but knocked on over the line on 70 minutes.
A leaping Feldt effort in the corner put the Cowboys back in with a sniff with seven minutes to go.