Penrith Panthers went top of the NRL standings with a 22-10 win over the depleted North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday.
Nathan Cleary's decisive display at Panthers Stadium helped the hosts see off a Cowboys side granted an exemption on Friday to replace injured props Jordan McLean and John Asista.
Cowboys fans may have feared the worst when Jarome Luai scored just five minutes in, but a superb solo try from teenager Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow levelled the scores before half-time.
Another rookie, 19-year-old Daejarn Asi, put the visitors ahead early in the second half before the Panthers, led by Cleary, began to assume control.
Brent Naden's try helped restore parity and Stephen Crichton went over 10 minutes later to ease the Panthers into the lead, with Cleary adding the extras.
Cleary had the final say, a couple of dummies creating a gap for him to drive through before converting with the last kick.
In the earlier match, Cronulla Sharks put on a ruthless display as they beat New Zealand Warriors 46-10 at Central Coast Stadium.
Three tries in the first 15 minutes from Braden Hamlin-Uele, William Kennedy and Ronaldo Mulitalo set the Sharks on course for victory.
The excellent Shaun Johnson got a fourth against his former team after Ken Maumalo had put the Warriors on the board, before a brilliant Sione Katoa double and a Jesse Ramien try pushed Cronulla further ahead.
Ramien added a second of his own before Wayde Egan grabbed a consolation, as the Sharks moved into ninth, level on points with Wests Tigers and South Sydney Rabbitohs.