Despondent Cowboys fans were given a lift on Saturday night when watching their new halves combination of Michael Morgan and Te Maire Martin. The new recruit largely took a back seat to Morgan's game control, but the five-eighth still scored two tries and made strong tackles at key moments in attack and defence.
The last few weeks have been a warning shot to any team that thinks the Cowboys are non-contenders without Thurston, having overcome the Panthers in a low-scoring game while running in 31 points against the Raiders.
"It's always good to get the two points down here. It's a tough place to play, particularly on a night like tonight so I'm really pleased to get the win," coach Paul Green said.
"It was one of the coldest wins we've ever had. Going into the bye it's a good feeling coming off a win. I think our last eight weeks or so of footy has been really good and the boys have worked hard in that period."
Green praised his halves combination, especially the commanding role of Morgan who's taken it upon himself to step up and lead the Cowboys.
"Morgan was dominant. We need him to be too, given [Thurston] is out for the season," he said.
"He's really embraced that role, there was a bit of talk around earlier that he wasn't sure whether he wanted to be that person… but he's been really good for us.
"Good to see Te Maire Martin in his first game tonight in his first game. I thought they combined well, he's got a good nous for knowing where to be and picked up two tries himself."
Green was also confident that Morgan's performance on Saturday and in previous weeks has proved he's the man to fill Thurston's absent number six jersey for Queensland in the State of Origin decider.
"If hadn't already I think tonight certainly didn't do his chances any harm," the Cowboys coach said.