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A win is great, just ask Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston.

A single win in Round 4 will not dictate whether your team is in the top eight come September. A change in outlook can.

The Cowboys have been void of confidence for a large part of the season, and while they turned up for only 40 minutes of football against the Storm on Monday night, the second half was enough of an indication that they are up for the fight in 2015.

The signs were worrisome for North Queensland, down 16-4 with just over 20 minutes to go, and they looked headed for their first 0-4 start to a season since 2002.

Heads could have dropped numerous times in the second half after blown chances, but the Cowboys stuck to their guns and finally produced points in the 60th minute through Antonio Winterstein.

They would win dominant field position throughout the second half, but their attacking prowess was never really present apart from a beautifully crafted play for the final try.

It was that commitment in defence that Thurston has been looking for which set them apart from the team of previous weeks – just one field goal was all North Queensland allowed in the second 40 minutes.

"[Commitment] has been missing since the start [of this season]," Thurston said. 

"We showed a bit of it last year obviously and it's been disappointing, the start to our year, the last couple of weeks when we've been in that situation we've been blown off the park so it's good that the boys have that bit of belief.

"We haven't played anywhere near our potential and it's good that we had that belief and showed a bit of ticker and fought 'til the end. When the game was on the line all our boys stood up right across the park and did their job. Great team effort."

Coach Paul Green was just as happy with his side's performance, saying the most pleasing thing was the way his side won.

The defensive line stood strong – namely James Tamou who has been publicly criticised for his inability to stick a tackle – with 10 less missed tackles than their season average, and the big names stepped up when they needed to.

"It is a relief, we've been under pressure there's no doubt about it. Everyone has got high expectations for the team, no one more than us and with each loss the confidence just chips away. So you just had to get back to believing that we're a good team," Green said.

"I don't know what next week's going to hold, she's a tough old competition this one, we've got to aim up against Penrith next week who are a quality side, but it would be really nice if we can build off the back of that because that was a really tough, character building win against a good team."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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