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Coen Hess celebrates a try.

Cowboys coach Todd Payten wasn't satisfied after falling short of a monumental upset over the Storm but hopes his players now believe they can mix it with the best.

Friday night's commendable 20-16 loss at Queensland Country Bank Stadium came a round after Payten's troops kept pace with the finals-bound Roosters until the last 15-odd minutes of a 34-18 defeat.

But while they came so close to snapping Melbourne's 14-game win streak, North Queensland are still sitting in 13th place, four competition points adrift of the Raiders in eighth position.

"I haven't mentioned the word finals, but hopefully it gives them belief, not necessarily confidence," Payten said.

"I don’t know how much confidence we’ll take out of that, but there should be some belief there … I know both teams [Storm and Roosters] were missing players this week and last week.

Match Highlights: Cowboys v Storm

"But we had two marquee clubs of the past 10 years on the rack a couple of different times in the game.

"And in those big moments our mindset was right but we just had to execute the plays [and didn't]. So it’s a step forward, but again, we're sitting here commiserating what could have been."

With a Queensland derby against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium next week, Payten said the challenge is replicating their performance.

"We made some tougher decisions in the tougher part of the game and that’s what you need to do week after week," he added.

"It's not rocket science, it’s just being tough - mentally and physically. I'm not happy with losing - I thought we had [the Storm] on the rack a couple of times. But the effort’s required week after week."

Hess never gives up the fight to ground the ball

Eyebrows were raised pre-game when it was announced that 32-year-old hooker Jake Granville would play fullback in place of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who was struck down by appendicitis in the week.

Granville filled the custodian's role in Wynnum Manly's 2011 Queensland Cup grand final win but had never done so in the NRL.

“The decision around putting him there was a little risky … But he's played three games at different times in the centres this year and competed well and held his gloves up," Payten said.

"Hammer went down Wednesday, the day after our main prep day. We had two new edges and considering we got a lot of reps into both of those edges, we didn't want to upset and undo all that good work.

"I thought we got a fair bit of confidence out of Tuesday and players were pretty focused, so that was why us as coaches put Jake in.

Feldt the finisher gets his 100th NRL try

"We knew what we were going to get out of him, and he was never going to get it right all the time, but he wasn't going to put himself in the game with the way that he competes."

Describing Granville's display as "strong", Payten said he would review the match and assess his other options before deciding if the veteran will wear the No.1 jersey next Friday.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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