Wests Tigers have pulled off the upset of the tournament so far, edging the Cowboys 13-12 despite being outscored three tries to two.
Wests Tigers centre Tim Simona was unlucky not to take first points with a spectacular leaping take but Jack Littlejohn's solo effort put the Tigers up 6-0 early the next play.
But the Cowboys returned fire immediately and jaws dropped around the stadium as NYC sensation Gideon Gela-Mosby engaged the afterburners and fairly scorched the Eden Park grass with a blinding long-range solo try.
North Queensland went on the attack again when a beautiful Matt Bowen show-and-go saw the veteran into space but the old legs weren't able to carry him all the way. But a cross-field kick straight after headed out to Gela-Mosby's wing and the youngster showed great handling skills to scoop it up and cross for yet another try and snatch the lead on half-time.
With Tiger Josh Drinkwater on the sidelines getting his ankle strapped Jack Littlejohn stepped up to control his team and his grubber midway through the second half led to the next points, grounded by Manaia Cherrington under the posts for a bonus try.
A 90-metre effort from Antonio Winterstein closed the gap to one point but a third straight missed goal meant the Tigers held onto a narrow lead despite being outscored three tries to two. Matt Wright came agonisingly close to scoring the match-winner in the corner in the dying seconds but was bundled into touch as the Tigers claimed an upset win.
Drinkwater said morale at the Tigers had lifted following the win.
"We were a little bit down after the first game but that will certainly have lifted the spirits," Drinkwater told NRL.com.
"We were a bit disappointing in the first game but we didn't really know what to expect, so we spoke about what we wanted to improve on and were able to do that.
"The Cowboys are a big team and we knew they were going to try and get their big boys one-on-one and get some offloads away, but our middles were good out there."
Wests Tigers 13 (Littlejohn, Cherrington tries) def North Queensland Cowboys 12 (Gela-Mosby 2, Winterstein tries)