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Cowboys beat Warriors to snap NRL slump

AAP logoAAP 20/08/2016

North Queensland have powered to a 34-6 NRL victory over the Warriors to snap their three-game losing streak.

The Cowboys ran away with the match in the first half in Townsville on Saturday night, opening up a 22-6 lead by the break.

The result keeps the premiers firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish, and are just two points behind the fourth-placed Canterbury before a clash with the Bulldogs next Thursday.

But defeat came at heavy cost for the Warriors, whose finals hopes hang by a thread after back-to-back defeats.

They are ninth on the ladder on 24 points and three behind eighth-placed Gold Coast with just two rounds remaining.

To add insult to injury, the Warriors had two of their key backs join hooker Issac Luke (knee) in the casualty room.

Top try-scorer Solomone Kata (hamstring) failed to start the match, while big winger Ken Maumalo (hamstring) limped off midway through the opening half.

After losses to Melbourne, Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters, the Cowboys wasted no time getting back to their best.

Kyle Feldt scored two tries in quick succession off Michael Morgan kicks, and Jason Taumalolo added a third four-pointer in the 23rd minute to race to a 16-0 lead.

In a rare bright spot for the Warriors, teenager Ata Hingano made an instant impact on his NRL debut by sending skipper Ryan Hoffman over for the visitors' only try of the night.

Tries to Justin O'Neill, Ray Thompson and Michael Morgan completed the rout for the Cowboys as the Warriors were held scoreless in the second half.

Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston turned in a starring role after some recent quiet displays.

The superstar halfback had three try assists and two tackle busts in a dynamic performance.

"We were disappointed with three consecutive losses but it's good to bounce back," Thurston told Fox Sports.

"There's a lot of positives to take out of that. It's more like us.

"Hopefully, we've turned the corner."

Warriors skipper Hoffman said his team had put themselves under too much pressure by giving the Cowboys repeat sets.

He conceded the chance to reach the finals might have passed his team by.

"We've got to win and have results go our way," the former NSW State of Origin forward told Fox Sports.

"It's not an ideal scenario ... they're big games."

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