Cowboys stirred by Broncos' loss but belief not shaken

North Queensland have failed to fire in the second half of both their NRL games this year but coach Todd Payten says it is no issue for his side.

The Cowboys lost 28-16 to Brisbane on Friday night after they led 8-0 early and scores were locked at 10-all at the break.

The previous week, they eked out an 19-18 win over Canberra, after leading 18-0 at the mid-way point.

Payten's men did lose fullback Scott Drinkwater to the sin-bin after halftime against the Broncos.

After reaching the preliminary final last year, the Cowboys are the hunted in 2023, but Payten said the inability of his side to kick on against the Broncos was not the result of any early-season malaise in the second half of matches.

"No, not really. The context is totally different," he said.

"The sin-binning (of Drinkwater) really hurt us and that was the difference in the game for me.

"Last week, we just played immature for the first 10 minutes (of the second half) so there was a totally different context.

"I know we have got a good footy team. I don't think the belief is shaken at all. We just played a better footy team tonight."

Payten wasn't happy that the Broncos scored three tries from kicks, after scoring four in a trial between the two clubs.

"What I am really proud of is the way we hung in there," he said.

"We had an opportunity to tie that game up with five minutes to go and we were on the back foot for 30 minutes in the second half.

"I am very disappointed but I know we have a squad that can dig in when it is going against us.

"We did it last week when there was a period in that second half when it was 18-all and Canberra had all the running and we found a way to win."

The Cowboys had devised a plan to thwart Broncos fullback Reece Walsh but they were unable to enact it with the magical No.1 the man of the match.

"He is lightning across the line. He catches the ball flat and wide out the back of those block shapes," Payten said.

"He made a difference to them."