North Queensland has snapped a two match losing streak, putting on a four-try second half blitz to beat the Parramatta Eels by 28-points.
The Cowboys started strongest in each half, putting in seven tries for the game to take a commanding 42-14 victory in Townsville.
The win was the Cowboys’ third of the season and kept them within two points of the top-eight heading into the representative round break.
Coach Paul Green made some changes from the sides that lost to Wests Tigers and Manly in recent weeks, dumping halfback Robert Lui back to Queensland Cup and moving hooker Ray Thompson into the number seven jersey.
Backrower Gavin Cooper was ruled out on game day.
The changes appeared to pay dividends against an Eels side backing up from a short turnaround.
The Cowboys made a flying start, tries to co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, and rookie winger Curtis Rona in the first 18 minutes gave them an 18-0 lead.
But just as the Cowboys looked to be in good touch, with a 92 per cent completion rate early, Ken Sio found himself wide open for Parramatta’s first points.
Pauli Pauli bashed his way over six minutes later.
Halfback Chris Sandow opted to go for the two points after Parramatta received a penalty just before the buzzer, as the Cowboys led 18-14 at half-time.
Parramatta’s momentum seemed to continue straight after the re-start after Jarryd Hayne ran into a large gap in the first minute, but his opposite fullback Michael Morgan pulled down the Test and New South Wales representative to stop a certain try.
Just as in the first half the Cowboys were the first to cross the line as Kane Linnett broke a 13-match scoreless streak to extend the home side’s lead on 45 minutes.
The centre was in again 10 minutes later and the game was put beyond doubt when Rona leaped on a Thompson kick.
Morgan completed the scoring on 70 minutes when he latched onto his own kick.