Cowboys enforcer James Tamou was rushed to hospital with a suspected neck injury, adding a sour note to North Queensland's gritty 20-12 defeat of the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
The New South Wales and Kangaroos prop was floored by an awkward collision with teammate Ashton Sims as the pair made a tackle on Bulldogs prop James Graham in the 18th minute, and lay prone on the ANZ Stadium turf for several minutes before leaving the field unassisted.
Cowboys officials said after the game that the 25-year-old had felt "pins and needles" down one arm after the incident and was sent for precautionary scans at Westmead Hospital mid-way though the match.
Tamou's injury put a dampener on what was otherwise a ground-breaking win for the Cowboys who after following on from last week's defeated of the Sharks in the Shire recorded consecutive away wins for the first time since late in 2013 when they beat the Panthers and Cronulla.
Sims admitted his fear for Tamou's well-being both at the time of the collision and after the match.
"I was concerned for a good mate," Sims said.
"Rugby league comes second to stuff like that. It's tough out there and it's physical but you look at Jimmy, he's 6-foot-4 and 110 kilos and he can still get hurt.
"I've still got concern for him but hopefully he's doing all right in hospital and hopefully we can go and get a car and go and see him tonight."
The surprise win catapults the Cowboys into the top eight for the first time since Round 10, and skipper Johnathan Thurston, who was instrumental with two try-assists and four conversions admitted his side had taken a significant step forward in recording another win away from Townsville after breaking their drought last week.
"The challenge for us was to back it up," Thurston said.
"It was a good win against Cronulla but all that hard work could've come unstuck if we didn't get the two points tonight so that was the challenge for us to back it up.
"We didn't start the game very well but the middle period of the game we had a high completion rate which got us back in the game and then we tackled our butts off towards the back end of that second half.
"We've snuck into the eight now and the challenge for us is to stay there."
North Queensland coach Paul Green, who indicated forwards Matt Scott (fractured cheekbone) and Gavin Cooper (hip) stood a decent chance of returning for next week's home clash with the Titans, was similarly pleased with the win, though was not so complimentary about the officiating.
"Eight-four penalty count made sure we had to do a lot of tackling," Green said.
"I was pretty disappointed with some of the ruck penalties; we got towelled in the penalty count tonight.
"I know Des (Hasler, Bulldogs coach) came out and mentioned how the ruck was reffed last week in their game.
"Maybe I need to do more whinging through the week."