The North Queensland Cowboys have extended their unbeaten run in the Holden Cup to seven matches with an impressive 35-28 win over the Sharks on Monday night.
A field goal to Cowboys halfback Cooper Bambling on the stroke of half-time seemed strange at the time, but it ultimately gave his side the breathing space they needed to post their seventh straight haul of 30 points or more.
The signs were good early on for the home side when Semisi Vea crashed over to hand Jayden Brailey his 16th try assist of 2016 to post first points after 10 minutes.
The Cowboys were their own worst enemies in the first half with a spate of handling errors preventing them from applying any pressure at the business end of the field.
It was ironic then that a Cronulla knock-on would lead to the visitors' first points with hat-trick hero from last week, Marcus Jensen, strolling over in the left corner from the scrum.
That was the spark they needed and from the restart they were in again through Emry Pere before Bambling did it all himself to give the Cowboys their third try in the space of five minutes.
The Sharks did manage to narrow the margin late in the half through centre Lachlan Stein, but the Cowboys had the last say as Bambling knocked over a field goal with the final kick of the half to make it 19-10 at the break.
It didn't take long for the Cowboys to extend their lead after the break with Pere scooping up a dropped bomb to stroll over for his second of the evening, but the Sharks hit straight back when Brailey sent big man Justin Timu over to once again make it a nine point game.
That didn't worry the Cowboys as Jensen strolled over for his second before Nathan Traill stepped his way through on the other side of the field to give North Queensland a commanding lead.
To their credit the Sharks refused to give up and managed to hit back through Ash Nisbet to make it 35-22 with 15 minutes to play.
That looked to be all she wrote but a piece of individual brilliance from halfback Rhys Davies with four minutes left cut the margin to seven points but that's as close as the Sharks would get.
North Queensland Cowboys 35 (Marcus Jensen 2, Emry Pere 2, Cooper Bambling, Nathan Traill tries; Bambling 5 goals, Bambling field goal) defeated Sharks 28 (Semisi Vea, Lachlan Stein, Justin Timu, Ash Nisbet, Rhys Davies tries; Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga 4 goals) at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Half-time: Cowboys 19-10.