North Queensland coach Paul Green has accused his side of throwing away two points after having their hearts broken 21-20 by South Sydney in Cairns.
Despite pushing the NRL premiership favourites all the way on Sunday, Green was pointed in his criticism after his side gave up a halftime lead to leave them languishing in second-last.
After a stellar outing that saw him set up two tries and play a key hand in a third, skipper Johnathan Thurston cut a devastated figure after missing a field goal attempt on the siren.
It was the side's 12th loss of the season and with eight games remaining they are in danger of copping the club's first wooden spoon since 2000.
"I was really disappointed with the effort, to be honest," Green said.
"I thought the game was there, we had the game won. There was just a couple of plays we didn't make when we had to.
"We lost the game because of it."
Green described Cody Walker's try just before the halftime siren as "soft" as the Cowboys' lead was reduced to 14-12 at the break.
Queensland forward Coen Hess rushed out of the line and Sam Burgess produced brilliant footwork to beat him before offloading for Walker.
The Cowboys were the better side in the first-half but Souths got themselves back into the game either side of halftime.
Green was critical of the fact the Cowboys' failed to complete their first three sets after the resumption and it took them until the 12th minute of the second half to get to their kick.
"There was a really soft try right on halftime and then the way we started with the footy in the second half, we didn't complete a set there for a handful of sets," Green said.
"In the conditions, you just can't do that. We handed the game to them."