The Warriors snapped a record 13-match losing streak in Australia with a comprehensive 26-12 defeat of the Cowboys at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday.
Led by star halfback Shaun Johnson, the Warriors overcame an early deficit to pile on five tries to two to secure their first win outside New Zealand since downing Canberra 21-20 at Redcliffe in Round 8 last season.
Johnson combined with five-eighth Te Maire Martin to have a hand in three of his side's tries as the Warriors capitalised on a dominant forward performance built of the back of a high completion rate.
Johnson is stepping and Montoya is scoring
Rookie Cowboys fullback Tom Chester put the home side ahead with his first NRL try in just the fourth minute but the Warriors hit back almost immediately through hooker Wayde Egan.
Chester then turned provider for the next North Queensland try after tapping back a Chad Townsend kick into the arms of hooker Reece Robson, who strolled over to score in the 14th minute.
Chester goes high and Robson goes over
However, it was a one-sided affair from then on as the Warriors produced a near faultless performance with the ball - boasting a 90 per cent completion rate until midway through the second half.
Fiji winger Marcelo Montoya scored the first of his two tries in the 28th minute before interchange forward Jazz Tevaga put the Warriors ahead for the first time in the match when he crossed six minutes before halftime.
Tevaga puts the Warriors in front
Leading 16-12 at the interval, the Warriors did not concede a point in the second half, while wingers Ed Kosi and Montoya scored in the 48th and 56th minutes to provide a healthy buffer for Andrew Webster's men.
Match: Cowboys v Warriors
Round 3 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
- Warriors hooker Wayde Egan scored his third try in as many rounds of the 2023 season when he opened the scoring for the New Zealand-based team.
- In an eventful game, Egan spent time on the sideline just before halftime undergoing a HIA, which he passed, and was penalised for a crusher tackle after he returned.
- Egan was then assisted from the field for a second HIA late in the game after an attempted tackle on North Queensland powerhouse Jason Taumalolo and is in doubt for next weekend's Auckland homecoming.
- Cowboys forward Helium Luki made a welcome return from an ACL injury suffered last June and played the last 19 minutes.
- The Warriors made five first half line-breaks and another two in the second half.
- Warriors forwards Addin Fonua-Blake (144m), Mitch Barnett (135m), Tohu Harris (124m), Dylan Walker (157) and Jazz Tevaga (140m) ran more than 100 metres with the ball.
- In comparison, Jason Taumalolo (109m) was the only Cowboys forward to carry for more than 100 metres.
- The win was the Warriors first in Townsville since 2018.
Play of the game
Adam Pompey bumped off Val Holmes and offloaded for winger Ed Kosi to score, despite the attention of three other Cowboys defenders, after Shaun Johnson combined with debutant Taine Tuaupiki to send the Warriors centre charging for the line.
The 48th minute try gave the Warriors a 22-12 lead and the Cowboys never recovered.
Pompey offloads from the heavens for Kosi
What they said
"Our ball control is not good enough, our discipline is not good enough and we're marching our opposition out of their own end. We're not giving ourselves an opportunity to win the game and the credit has to go to the Warriors - they played with a lot of effort, spirit and they're a well-drilled team playing confident in each other's ability," - Cowboys coach Todd Payten.
Cowboys: Round 3
"We wanted to see what our forward pack could do if we had more than 50 per cent of the ball, we just wanted to see how dominant they could be and tonight we got to see that. I was really happy for them, they worked hard, they were fast over the advantage line and I was super impressed. The thing I was also impressed with our forwards was just how organised they looked with the ball, passing the ball to each other, knowing their role and re-loading down the other end," - Warriors coach Andrew Webster.
Warriors: Round 3
The Cowboys host the Titans in a Queensland derby clash at QCB Stadium next Saturday, while the Warriors take on the Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.
Todd Payten remains without the services of star fullback Scott Drinkwater (high tackle) and Kiwis centre Peta Hiku (crusher) after they were suspended for incidents in last weekend's loss to the Broncos. Hiku has one more match to serve, while Drinkwater won't be back until Round 6.
Cowboys centre Gehamat Shibasaki was placed on report for a crusher tackle on Warriors second-rower Mitch Barnett, who was forced from the field and did not return.
Warriors hooker Wayde Egan is in doubt for the clash with the Bulldogs after reeling out of an attempted tackle on Jason Taumalolo in the 68th minute. Egan was assisted from the field.