Even without Johnathan Thurston, North Queensland fullback Lachlan Coote is confident the Cowboys can finish in the NRL top four.
The Cowboys have won four of their past five, with their only slip-up a golden-point loss to ladder leaders Melbourne. Both sides had been without their State of Origin stars.
They are sixth, with the same number of wins as fourth-placed Manly and Brisbane, who are fifth, ahead of Sunday's clash with South Sydney in Cairns.
"I back the boys to get up there in that top four if we keep rolling the way we are," Coote said.
"We've just got to keep making those extra efforts, working hard for each other in D (defence) and, hopefully, that will take care of itself."
North Queensland's strong run has come with Thurston ruled out for the season.
The champion playmaker was their second key player to be cut down by injury after co-captain Matt Scott's year ended in round two with an ACL rupture.
In Thurston's absence, Michael Morgan has taken the chief playmaker's mantle.
Mid-season recruit Te Maire Martin showed how lethal the new halves pairing could be in the Cowboys' last-start victory over Canberra.
"He's only going to get better," Coote said of Martin.
"He's quick, he's agile and he's a great supporter as well.
"He knows where to be, especially in the structured style we've got. He's picked it up well."
While most of the team took advantage of a break from training during last weekend's bye, Martin did extra sessions.
And despite scoring two tries against the Raiders in his club debut, the former Penrith player believes he has a lot of work to do to adjust to the Cowboys' style.
"Most of the time, I was a bit lost," Martin said.
"I was trying to just push up with the ball and try and find the ball when I could."
THE COWBOYS' PATH TO THE TOP FOUR:
* South Sydney (Cairns)
* Warriors (home)
* Sydney Roosters (away)
* Melbourne (h)
* Penrith (a)
* Cronulla (h)
* Wests Tigers (a)
* Brisbane (h)