The Cowboys conceded the first try playing without their Origin stars but it was one-way traffic from there as they romped to a 32-6 victory against the Titans.
A three-try blitz in eight minutes in the first half broke the spirit of the Titans who enjoyed 61 per cent of possession in the first 20 minutes.
To make matters worse, the Gold Coast lost young gun fullback Jayden Campbell to a hamstring injury in the second half.
North Queensland could only repel an early onslaught for so long as the Titans crashed over in the 15th minute. AJ Brimson bombed scoring the opener but made up for it moments later by setting up Toby Sexton to score.
But from there it was all the Cowboys who scored 32 unanswered points thanks to tries from Heilum Luki, Murray Taulagi, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Reece Robson and Peta Hiku.
MATCH CENTRE: Titans vs Cowboys live updates, video, stats
North Queensland center Peta Hiku puts icing on the cake by scoring a sharp try at the death.
Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater puts through a deft grubber which Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow mows down and scores in the corner.
“Right on the money, he chases hard and gets his second try tonight as the Cowboys put this one to bed,” Shane Flanagan said.
Cowboys hooker Reece Robson threw a dummy out of the ruck before strolling over for the easiest of tries from just two meters out.
“That’s embarrassing, that’s almost embarrassing for Robson,” Andrew Voss said.
“Close to the line he is so strong and powerful,” Shane Flanagan responded.
Titans fullback Jayden Campbell leaves the game with a suspected hamstring injury.
“He clutched at his hammy and the trainer went straight to him” Andrew Voss said.
“He’s leading the run meters tonight (134m) and hammy went as he fell and looked to force the line dropout.
“He is not in a good way at all, he knew it straight away.”
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow then got in on the action after scooping on a loose carry to score from 20 meters out.
“That would have to be the worst player in the world you’d want a loose ball,” Andrew Voss said.
Scott Drinkwater threw a beautiful cutout pass for Murray Taulagi who finished strongly to score in the corner.
“He’s having a superb season, we might see him in Maroon this winter,” Andrew Voss said.
“This is beautiful football from the North Queensland Cowboys. They’re really patient but they don’t waste plays in setting it up,” Shane Flanagan responded.
Scott Drinkwater gives an inside ball to Heilum Luki who shows his strength by reaching out to score.
“What’s he done there, bounce, bounce, reach out, score,” Andrew Voss said.
Titans No. 6 AJ Brimson steps off his left foot and offloads to his halves partner Toby Sexton who puts on some of his own footwork to score.
“They’ve had a few shots down this left-hand side, they fancy themselves down that edge,” Flanagan said.
“But he still had a bit of work today.”
AJ Brimson looked certain to score in the 10th minute but passed two meters out when could have scored himself.
“He didn’t need to pass, he just needed to back himself,” Shane Flanagan said on Fox League.
The first break of the game came via a blistering run down the middle from Titans fullback Jayden Campbell in the fifth minute.
But North Queensall – playing without their Origin stars – won back possession thanks to a short kick-off.
Follow all the action live in our blog below. If you can’t see it click here.
Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo returns just in time as his side takes on the Titans.
Taumalolo missed last week after suffering a minor knee injury and his return couldn’t have come at a better time given four of his teammates are out due to State of Origin duties.
Jeremiah Nanai, Reuben Cotter, Valentine Holmes and Tom Dearden will have to watch on from Maroons camp, but Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Murray Taulagi are free to play.
Coach Todd Payten has called on Ben Hampton to fill in at five-eighth and Brendan Elliott comes onto the wing with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow shifting to center to cover for Holmes.
Coen Hess moves from lock to prop and young gun Heilum Luki is promoted to the starting side with Connelly Lemuelu joining the bench.
The Titans have been forced into some big changes too with skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui in camp with the Maroons and David Fifita sidelined due to a knee injury.
But Moeaki Fotuaika makes a timely return from an ankle injury at prop, allowing Isaac Liu to shift to lock.
Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.