Cowboys young gun Enari Tuala.

Cowboys rookie Tuala passes the Inglis Test

Playing in his second NRL match and lining up against one of the best centres to play the game, Enari Tuala has gone a long way to cementing his position in a North Queensland side that needs to change.

While he certainly didn't get the better of Inglis, the young Cowboy showed he could put aside the occasional error to compete with the best, drawing praise from the South Sydney skipper: "It was a credit to the kid."

Tuala was ecstatic to have played against one of his idols.

"I think it was my first attempt to tackle him I got a bit of a fend in the face, he's always been one of my role models, I've always looked up to him, it was a good feeling to play against him," Tuala said.

"It's tough, you need to get in at the right time I guess and watch out for his fend."

Inglis embarrassed Tuala early in the second half on Saturday night with a break down the sideline, the Cowboys managed to get one back on the veteran with a solid hit later in the half as the home side mounted its comeback in Townsville.

"I kind of read it pretty well so I knew I had to try and shut him down, try not to give him too much space," Tuala said.

The 19-year-old was pleased he was able to prove himself to coach Paul Green, and is hopeful to cement a starting spot in the team. Experienced duo Lachlan Coote and Ethan Lowe missed the cut on the weekend as Green ran out of patience with his under-performing mainstays.

The Cowboys have Tuala under contract until the end of 2019.

"I just need to be consistent with everything and do my job, stay alert with everything," he said.

"My goal has been to start, but I'm happy to just play off the bench and get an opportunity, I'm grateful for whatever opportunity I get.

"I'm grateful that I can build my future here, especially around the players that are in the squad, they're good players and they're all experienced, it's good to learn off them."