South Sydney Rabbitohs' faint hopes of making the NRL finals were dented on Sunday as they suffered a 23-10 defeat to North Queensland Cowboys in Cairns.
Six points off the top eight with rounds running out, the Rabbitohs were in desperate need of a victory at Barlow Park but ended up outclassed after taking an early lead through Cody Walker.
Tries from Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt and Coen Hess put the Cowboys in control by half-time and Jake Granville exposed a gaping hole in the home defence to effectively end the game as a contest five minutes after the interval.
Braidon Burns' 68th-minute score in the right corner gave Souths a glimmer of hope, but North Queensland remained in control and made sure of victory thanks to Lachlan Coote's drop goal.
Victory for the Cowboys boosts their hopes of finishing in the top four and it was a similar story for Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday.
Daly Cherry-Evans continued his impressive form as the Sea Eagles came from behind to beat Wests Tigers 28-16.