Injuries to Origin star Greg Bird and Luke O’Dwyer have made a tough night for the Gold Coast worse as the Titans were beaten 22-10 by North Queensland at Townsville Stadium on Saturday.
The Cowboys kept their slim finals hopes alive with the victory, never relinquishing their lead as they took their winning streak to three and climbed to within two points of the top eight.
Eighth-placed Gold Coast meanwhile, will be sweating on their injury count.
Bird was carried off the field shortly after the break after going down with a back injury after attempting to lift Gavin Cooper in a tackle in the 45th minute.
He tried to continue playing but was unable to walk with on-field runners needed to carry the New South Wales representative from the field.
There was no doubt that O’Dwyer needed medical assistance straight after going down in the 65th minute, Cowboys players waving to the bench as he was also carried off the field with a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott also sent an injury scare through the North Queensland camp, going down clutching his ankle following 55th minute tackle.
He too was taken into the stands but returned to the field with 12 minutes to go after fears of an ankle ligament injury turned out to just be a cork to his shin.
The Cowboys lead from start to finish in the game, crucial to both team’s chances of a top-eight finish.
Gavin Cooper hit first for the Cowboys in the fourth minute as the hosts came out fastest but David Mead responded for the Gold Coast just four minutes later.
After an extended period of Titans dominance, Cowboys rookie Kyle Feldt bagged a try after a clever cut-out pass from Matt Bowen in the 28th minute.
After Bird’s injury, Kevin Gordon put the Titans back within touching distance of the Cowboys on 50 minutes but tries to Feldt and Glenn Hall put the game beyond reach in the final 20 minutes.
It wasn’t all positive for the Cowboys, with interchange prop Ashton Sims placed on report for a high hit on Ryan James in the 19th minute.