Canberra have extended their home record to 11 straight wins with a 26-18 NRL win over North Queensland on Sunday.
Three first-half tries gave the Raiders a handy lead and they clung on for a crucial victory at Canberra Stadium that also snapped a five-game losing streak against the Cowboys.
Things just didn't click for Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys in the first 40 minutes.
Their slow line speed in defence allowed the Raiders to make easy metres up the middle from their own half.
On too many occasions captain Terry Campese was able to launch attacking high balls from sets that began 10m from the Raiders' own try line.
In contrast, the Raiders successfully rushed up on the Cowboys' backs in defence, while Josh Papalii (136m) and David Shillington (170m) were inspirational for the home side in attack.
Raiders halfback Josh McCrone opened the scoring in just the second minute when he pounced on a charge down off an overly complacent Thurston.
Raiders' wrecking ball Papalii then pulled off a brilliant solo effort when he brushed aside Thurston and then stepped fullback Clint Greenshields to extend the lead to 12-0.
The Raiders continued to ride their momentum, winger Sami Sauiluma crossing after a Terry Campese bomb to give his side a deserved 18-0 lead into the break.
Thurston made amends for an ordinary first half by opening the scoring in the second half.
The Raiders seemingly then switched off after a penalty goal extended their lead to 20-6, Cowboys playmaker Robert Lui making them pay with another converted try.
But twinkle toes Raiders fullback Anthony Milford was finally rewarded for a brilliant run-on debut with a try off the back of a scrum in the 75th minute, putting the fast-finishing Cowboys to the sword.
Meanwhile, Raiders interchange Sam Mataora faces a nervous wait after being placed on report for a high tackle on Dallas Johnson straight after break.
After their heavy first round loss, where do you expect the NZ Warriors to finish in the NRL regular season?Related story: (See story)