It was a case of so near yet so far for both of these teams last week.
The Cowboys started well against undefeated Melbourne and never stopped trying, but when the dust settled the Storm had handed them their fourth loss on the trot.
Another loss this week and the Cowboys will be right back in the same sticky predicament they found themselves in last year when they swiftly bowed out of finals contention.
The Warriors did almost everything right against the Rabbitohs but couldn't contain Cody Walker (four tries) and failed to match the Bunnies' urgency in the final 10 minutes.
As coach Stephen Kearney noted after the narrow loss, the Warriors have to start playing for 80 minutes.
Match: Warriors v Cowboys
Round 6 -
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
- LIVE PASS
Warriors: Blake Green (groin) has been ruled out, with Peta Hiku moving to five-eighth, Gerard Beale starting in the centres and Nathaniel Roache joining the bench. The Warriors have won their past five games at Mt Smart Stadium.
Cowboys: North Queensland are 1-17, with John Asiata (elbow) to play after initial thoughts of a serious injury in the collision with Nene Macdonald were eased earlier in the week. Josh McGuire will play his 200th NRL game.
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Cowboys is number 1 Te Maire Martin
Winger for Warriors is number 2 David Fusitu'aWinger for Cowboys is number 2 Justin O'Neill
Centre for Warriors is number 21 Gerard BealeCentre for Cowboys is number 3 Jordan Kahu
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Solomone KataCentre for Cowboys is number 4 Enari Tuala
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Ken MaumaloWinger for Cowboys is number 5 Ben Hampton
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Chanel Harris-TavitaFive-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Jake Clifford
Halfback for Warriors is number 3 Peta HikuHalfback for Cowboys is number 7 Michael Morgan
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Agnatius PaasiProp for Cowboys is number 8 Matthew Scott
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Issac LukeHooker for Cowboys is number 9 Jake Granville
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Leeson Ah MauProp for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Adam Blair2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Gavin Cooper
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Josh McGuire
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Lachlan BurrLock for Cowboys is number 13 John Asiata
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Jazz TevagaInterchange for Cowboys is number 14 Kurt Baptiste
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty AfoaInterchange for Cowboys is number 15 Coen Hess
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Isaiah Papali'iInterchange for Cowboys is number 16 Scott Bolton
Interchange for Warriors is number 18 Nathaniel RoacheInterchange for Cowboys is number 17 Francis Molo
Poor old Michael Morgan needs help from somewhere if the Cowboys are going to break out of their month-long slump. Jake Granville has a tough battle on his hands against veteran hooker Issac Luke and will give the Cowboys a good shot at winning if he can get the better of the New Zealand international.
For the Warriors to win
They overcame the loss of Blake Green just before kick-off last week and almost pulled off an upset, but the Warriors have to put 80-minute performances together and stop switching off defensively at various stages. The fact Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is in blistering form should also help the Warriors claim a third win.
For the Cowboys to win
Losing winger Nene Macdonald to a serious injury shook up the Cowboys but they haven't got time to feel sorry for themselves after four straight losses. Coach Paul Green has to keep working on his team's offence to try to ease some of the intense pressure on their defence and 21-year-old five-eighth Jake Clifford has to step up and prove he's a full-time first grader.
Brett Kimmorley says
Both these teams are battling a little bit. The thing for both sides this week is who can arm-wrestle their way into a victory. When the game has been on the line for both of them in recent weeks it they have come up with crucial errors or bad defensive reads. Cowboys by 2
Warriors Stat Attack
Tuivasa-Sheck had a whale of a game against the Rabbitohs, racking up 213 run metres, 11 tackle breaks, two line breaks and a try. The Warriors had 44% of possession and completed at 67%, in addition to missing 36 tackles. Yet they still went within a whisker of an upset, and that was after they lost Blake Green minutes before kick-off when he was injured in the warm-up.
Cowboys Stat Attack
The Cowboys lead the NRL in line break assists (14), line engaged (110) and 40/20 kicks (2). Lock Josh McGuire is second in the league in post contact metres (297) while Michael Morgan is on top in all kicks (64).
And another thing ...
It's been 24 years since the Warriors and Cowboys entered the NRL with fellow newcomers the South Queensland Crushers and Western reds. The Crushers and Reds are long gone but the Cowboys and Warriors aren't going anywhere soon. The Cowboys have been more successful than the Warriors, winning one premiership, playing in three grand finals and reaching the finals 10 times. The Warriors have played in two grand finals and qualified for the post-season eight times.