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A Johnathan Thurston-inspired Cowboys side proved too strong for Canberra as they strolled to a comfortable 22-6 win at Canberra Stadium in Round 5.

Thurston proved unstoppable as he set up three tries, the first coming after just 10 minutes when the Cowboys produced a superb backline play that finished with the North Queensland captain throwing a second- man ball for Brent Tate to score.

Nineteen minutes later he was at it again with a perfectly timed cut-out pass for Ashley Graham to make it 12-0 at the break.

Thurston stepped past Jarrod Croker to send Ashley Graham over for his second in the 46th minute before Ray Thompson scored a clever solo try to cap his side’s impressive night out.

Sam Mataora scored a consolation for the home side with 12 minutes remaining when he crashed over from close range.

North Queensland made seven line-breaks to one, with centre Kane Linnett starring with seven tackle-breaks and 208 metres.

Reece Robinson ran for 195 metres for the home side.