Wests Tigers remain in the finals hunt but arguably not much of a threat after a lacklustre 24-16 NRL win over North Queensland in Townsville.
Securing back-to-back wins for just the second time this season, the Tigers ground out a vital win and consigned the Cowboys to their ninth straight loss.
Adam Doueihi was instrumental in attack and perfect off the tee, kicking four from four on the night.
He finished with one try assist and five tackle busts, while halves partner Luke Brooks was a calming presence in the final third and had two try assists of his own.
Second-half tries to Kelma Tuilagi and Tommy Talau and to a Tigers double in the first half in a match where the Cowboys failed to execute despite dominating territory.
The home side's fifth tackle options had fans bringing their face masks above their eyes, as they were unable to force a set restart despite 24 tackles within their opposition's 20-metre line.
Late consolation tries to Tom Dearden and Ben Hampton in the final ten minutes brought a glimmer of hope to the crowd of 12,663, but it was all too late as the Tigers held on to stay within two points of the top eight.
The opening half was an error-strewn display, and it was the Tigers who took a 12-6 lead into the sheds with neither team properly capitalising on deep attacking opportunities.
Handling errors in the final third cost both sides as their errors totalled 15 between them.
The visitors made the most of two penalties awarded in their own half, scoring back-to-back through Stefano Utoikamanu and Ken Maumalo in the seventh and 19th minutes.
Their first was a bulldozing run by the prop who powered through the Cowboys goal-line defence, before a set-play to their left edge found Maumalo diving out wide to score on the wing.
Michael Maguire's side looked set to keep the Cowboys scoreless heading into halftime but then the Cowboys scored one of the most bizarre tries of 2021.
Tom Dearden skewed a bomb 40 metres out, the ball bouncing fortuitously to Kyle Feldt who then toed a kick to centre field where Reece Robson gathered and offloaded to debutant Griffin Neame, who passed to fellow debutant Jeremiah Nanai to score
But that would be their only try until the 73rd minute and the Tigers held on to see out the result.Internet Explorer Channel Network