Scott Drinkwater's confidence "was through the roof".
The young Cowboy was Player of the Tournament at the NRL Nines, he'd won the race to be Michael Morgan's halves partner and he had performed strongly in the club's first two rounds, particularly in the round-two win over Canterbury.
And then ... no footy for two months.
But the 22-year-old is confident he can pick up where he left off when North Queensland resume their Telstra Premiership campaign at the end of May.
"I felt like I was travelling OK in the halves position," said Drinkwater, who arrived from Melbourne as a fullback midway through last year.
"I've got to fix up a few areas still on my left edge, but it was a bit frustrating that we had to stop playing.
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"My confidence was through the roof, and I don't think that will be down at all when we get back playing, but it was a little bit annoying that we had to stop playing."
Drinkwater has faith that he and Jake Clifford can form a winning halves combination if captain Michael Morgan isn't fit for the NRL restart.
Morgan underwent minor shoulder surgery during the six-week enforced break due to COVID-19 and is in rehab leading into the Telstra Premiership's scheduled restart on May 28.
Cowboys coach Paul Green on Friday said Morgan would probably miss round three.
Morgan set to miss season restart
"I'm not too sure what the plans are with him," Drinkwater said of Morgan on Thursday.
"He's come back at training with us [this week], he's off to the side doing a bit of running and that.
"So we'll see how he develops over the next three weeks or so."
Clifford and Drinkwater duelled throughout the summer for the No.6 jersey but teamed up in an 18-16 trial win over Brisbane.
"I'm sure Jake will do a great job if he gets the chance to come in," Drinkwater said.
"He played a lot of games last year and he's familiar with the halfback role. It's up to Morgo to see how his rehab goes the next three weeks and it'll be up to the physios to see if he can play or not.
"Jake and I did a bit of training in the pre-season - Morgo missed a couple of weeks with a hamstring [injury] - so we're used to training in the halves together. I'm sure our cohesion would be pretty sweet."
Centre Esan Marsters believes the Cowboys won't have any dramas with their fluency upon resumption.
Along with superstar fullback Valentine Holmes and bench hooker Reece Robson, Marsters was finding his feet in the opening rounds after joining the club in the pre-season.
The recruits looked more comfortable as the Cowboys rebounded from a first-up loss to Brisbane to trump the Bulldogs.
"I'm pretty confident that we'll hit the ground running. You don't really lose too much coming back into the team, you sort of know your job and how you trained in the off-season," Marsters said, adding the squad had returned to training in great order.
Marsters also acknowledged the benefit of being able to host games at Queensland Country Bank Stadium after the Queensland Government cleared the NRL to play in the Sunshine State.
"It's always a good thing to be able to stay back. The [New Zealand] Warriors sacrificed a lot for themselves to move over and start the game," Marsters said.
"I think we're one of the lucky ones to stay in Townsville, train here and see all our families."