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North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston credited prop Carl Webb's stunning return to form as his side's "inspiration" for their 38-14 demolition of Parramatta on Saturday night.
Webb, who has come under attack from some of the game's critics for his slow start to 2008, hit back on Saturday night, scoring a try on top of his 142 metres and 13 tackles.
With Queensland State of Origin selector Gene Miles in the stands, Webb's return to form sparked the Cowboys victory, according to Thurston.
"Webby, his first 20 minutes were pretty inspirational, he certainly led from the front and all the boys got off the back of that," Thurston said.
"It was certainly a complete turnaround on the last couple of weeks, he certainly prepared himself well for the game and he gets us good go forward and (hooker Aaron Payne) plays off the back of that."
After three straight losses, Thurston credited his team's ability to stick together during their dismal run of form after the announcement coach Graham Murray would not continue in the job beyond this year.
"It has been pretty tough the last few weeks but we are a pretty tight unit and we stick together and that's what we have done," he said.
"Our spirits were still high for the circumstances we have come through ... we just need to build on that now.
"We have got our first win and the boys should be proud of it and the coaching staff as well."
Eels coach Michael Hagan said his side must start playing out the full 80 minutes and wouldn't rule out changes.
"We need to be consistent for 80 minutes and I don't think we achieved any of that tonight," he said.
"I still think we have some players individually not performing as well as they can for whatever reason and we need to assess that.
"We need to come up with a team that gets the job done. We have got a couple of quality players coming back in, Chad Robinson and Ben Smith might come back as early as next week."
Hagan said it was still difficult to judge recently reinstated halfback Tim Smith's combination with five-eighth Brett Finch.
"They didn't have a platform to play behind, we didn't control the ruck and it is difficult to play behind that," Hagan said.
"We came up with some poor options in the right end of the field, we had poor structure and we didn't build pressure."