North Queensland remain hopeful hooker Aaron Payne will be fit for Friday's NRL semi-final against Manly.
Retiring at the end of the season, Payne suffered a knee injury in the Cowboys' 33-16 win over Brisbane on Saturday that threatened to end his season and career prematurely.
But Cowboys football manager Peter Parr said on Monday that Payne's condition has improved significantly since then.
"We still have to assess the situation but he was better yesterday than he was on Saturday night," Parr said.
"It is a waiting game at the moment, we will await the results of scans today and know more tomorrow."
North Queensland travel to Sydney to meet Manly at Allianz Stadium on Friday night with the winner to meet Melbourne the following week for a spot in the grand final.
The Cowboys have a poor record in Sydney but Parr said the club would ignore any talk of hoodoos in the lead-up to the match.
"We always knew at this stage of the season we would have to play a big game in Sydney so we are ready for it," he said.
"We are expecting a hostile reception. But we will go into the game with some momentum and we aren't worried about what has happened before. We are not worried about anything like hoodoos."