Despite being handily beaten by the Penrith Panthers at 1300SMILES Stadium, North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green saw signs his side had responded to the criticism he offered a week earlier.

The Cowboys enjoyed 55 percent of possession and a 78 percent completion rate, but that wasn’t enough as the Penrith Panthers scored a 33-14 win on Thursday night.

Green would have preferred the two points, but he's pleased that his side had improved from the performance they turned in during a loss to the Melbourne Storm At AAMI Park in round three of the Telstra Premiership. 

"I wasn't happy with it, but I saw a definite improvement in the areas I asked, you know it was four tries to three, two tries off kicks," Green said.

"When things aren't going your way it's funny how the bounce of the ball doesn't go your way, but I thought there was an improvement in those effort areas that I asked for tonight.

"I did see a reaction from our players in the areas that we said we wanted to improve in."

The Cowboys attack was clunky and unable to break thought the Panthers' line despite repeat sets from kicks and penalties.

That field position never translated into points, but when momentum swung the Panthers way they were able to capitalise.

"It was our attack tonight. Early we had some opportunities there where we just got a little bit rattled, they pressured us pretty well and we just lacked a little bit of composure," Green said. 

"You start to question [your self-belief], it's important that we don't let that go too far, because we know we've got some good players in our team.

"They don't forget how to play footy, so you've got to trust in that, trust in your game."

Composure was a key factor for the Cowboys, with several promising set plays ending up in an error, leaving the Cowboys struggling for points.

"When you put a lot of effort into whatever it is you're doing and it doesn't quite come off then sometimes frustration can creep in and that was probably the case tonight," Green said.

"You try a bit harder and it doesn't happen for you so you get more frustrated and it's a bit of a vicious cycle and that's where your confidence starts to suffer."