Johnathan Thurston walked a fine line when he told the referees to "take control" - and then heeded his own advice - as the Cowboys' superstar put Laurie Daley and NSW on notice, almost single handedly skinning the Eels on his return from injury.
Queensland's master string-puller, playing with a shoulder being held together by nothing more, emphatically proved his fitness for State of Origin II as the Blues brace for the return of Thurston and Storm wizard Billy Slater for the ANZ Stadium showdown on Wednesday week.
North Queensland Cowboys 32 (Kyle Feldt 2, Johnathan Thurston, Coen Hess, Antonio Winterstein tries; Johnathan Thurston 6 goals) defeated Parramatta Eels 6 (Brad Takairangi try; Clint Gutherson goal) at TIO Stadium. Referees: Adam Gee, Gavin Reynolds. Crowd: 11,968.