North Queensland will be without injured stars Kyle Feldt and Jason Taumalolo for Friday's blockbuster clash against NRL champions Penrith.
The pair were both first-half casualties of the Cowboys' 36-6 thrashing of Melbourne on Saturday night.
North Queensland confirmed on Monday that Feldt had suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear which would sideline him for six weeks, ruling him out of contention for the Maroons Origin line-up with the three-game series getting underway in Sydney on June 8.
Taumalolo also sustained a lower grade MCL injury which will see him miss the Panthers match at BlueBet Stadium, and possibly the following round against Gold Coast.
The Cowboys can at least draw confidence from their stunning performance against Melbourne after losing the pair.
Winger Feldt headed to the sidelines in the 16th minute after he was buckled over awkwardly in a tackle and lock Taumalolo joined him 10 minutes later.
Yet the home side was able to shake off the Storm in the second half, scoring a further four unanswered tries after taking a 12-6 lead into the break.
The Friday night clash looms as one of the games of the season with the ladder-leading Panthers and third-placed Cowboys both in imperious form.
Australian Associated Press
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