They sit equal with the Sharks on 32 points but ahead by 71 on points differential and a home final in Townsville beckons provided they can hold their nerve in the remaining three games.
The Warriors have shown some positive signs against qualty opposition in the past month but it doesn't get any tougher than facing the top two sides in the next fortnight.
If they can hold their heads high against the Cowboys and Panthers and then finish with a win in front of the Mt Smart faithful in Round 25 there will be plenty of positives to take into next season.
Cowboys: Tom Gilbert will miss the game for family reasons, replaced in the starting side by Luciano Leilua with Jamayne Taunoa-Brown added to the bench. Veteran winger Kyle Feldt returns after missing two games with a hamstring injury so Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow reverts to the bench. Jordan McLean has been promoted to the starting side and Coen Hess goes to the bench.
Warriors: Stacey Jones has named the same 17 that was so impressive against the Bulldogs. Chanel Harris-Tavita is listed as 18th Man as he looks to return from a knee injury. No changes to the squad in Thursday's 24-hour update.
Chad Townsend v Shaun Johnson: With 438 games between them, Townsend and Johnson have seen it all and then some. Townsend has had a profound influence on the Cowboys in his first season and his big-game experience will be invaluable come finals time. Johnson has chalked up seven try assists in his past six games and turned back the clock with a sizzling solo try against the Bulldogs. Both possess astute kicking games and whoever comes out on top in that department should be walking away with the two competition points.
The Cowboys and Warriors entered the competition together in 1995 and have met on 40 occasions, with the ledger even at 20 wins apiece. Their past two meetings have been decided by a single point - the Warriors winning 25-24 in golden point at Redcliffe's Moreton Daily Stadium in Round 5 this year after the Cowboys prevailed 29-28 in Round 12 last year thanks to a Val Holmes field goal with 41 seconds to play.