A spirited second-half fightback from Parramatta Eels came up short as North Queensland Cowboys secured a 32-16 NRL victory in Townsville on Saturday.
The Eels threatened to move above the champions into second place when they rallied from 14-0 down at half-time to lead by two points with just under 20 minutes remaining following a double from Semi Radradra and a Michael Jennings try.
Johnathan Thurston levelled with a penalty after Corey Norman was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on Michael Morgan and the Cowboys made the most of their numerical advantage at 1300SMILES Stadium.
An Antonio Winterstein try put the Cowboys back in front nine minutes from time, then Morgan helped himself to a double and the clinical Thurston took his tally with the boot to 12 as Paul Green's side cut the gap to leaders Brisbane Broncos to two points.
Josh Reynolds' drop-goal gave Canterbury Bulldogs a dramatic 21-20 golden-point win over the Gold Coast Titans.
The five-eighth was on target from 35 yards out to settle an enthralling contest at ANZ Stadium, where the Titans fought back from 20-8 down to force extra time with tries from David Mead and Josh Hoffman.
Reynolds had the final say, rounding off an impressive display in which he also laid on two tries to move the Bulldogs up to fifth in the ladder.
Jordan Rapana scored four of Canberra Raiders' 11 tries as they registered their biggest win against Wests Tigers in the other game to be played on Saturday, running riot in a 60-6 mauling.