Dejected Cowboys back-rower Coen Hess.

A brutal one-point loss to the Rabbitohs has likely ended the Cowboys' season, but the players and coach still have the belief they can claw their way back up the ladder in time for finals.

Leading by a point with seconds to go, hooker Jake Granville rushed Adam Reynolds to prevent the kick, but was ruled to have jumped the gun. Cowboys coach Paul Green said his players were "dejected" after the heart-breaking 20-19 loss.

"[The mood] is pretty shattered to lose like that, especially after we had a bit of a rough trot," Green said.

Despite the loss Green was adamant that his side could mount a comeback on the ladder, simply saying, "the season is not over yet."

The loss is made more difficult to bear for North Queensland by the fact that it's close to the best they've played all season, thanks largely to changes which included moving Michael Morgan to fullback and bringing in Francis Molo and Enari Tuala.

"I thought we looked a lot more threatening at different times, Morgan had a couple of try assists there, when we controlled the ball I thought we looked pretty good at different times."

Green was especially pleased with Tuala's performance against an in-form Greg Inglis, the Cowboys centre not letting himself fade out of the game when Inglis got the better of him on the edge.

"I think it was a credit to the kid, he had a couple of errors there and he didn't let it worry him he got back in the game," he said.

"It's a really good sign, it's a good temperament from him so I was really pleased to see that."

One of the biggest negatives of the night was the injury to co-captain Matt Scott, but Green is hopeful the injury won't keep him sidelined for long.

"I don't like to speculate too much straight after a game, but hopefully it's not too bad, it's the other knee, it's not his knee that he did last year but we'll get scans tomorrow to confirm all that."