Innisfail Leprechauns edged a classic top-of-the-table derby at rivals Tully 28-26 on Saturday in Round 14 of the David McCoy Homes Cairns Key Real Estate District Rugby League A Grade competition.
In the Kenfrost Homes Game of the Round, the Cassowary Coast rivals produced a thrilling encounter in one of the biggest crowds seen in recent years at Tully Showgrounds, as the hosts (first on the ladder) took on second-placed Innisfail.
The visitors shot out to a 20-4 lead at the break before being reeled in by a resilient Tully outfit, which had won seven straight games.
But Leprechauns player-coach Ty Williams proved to be the matchwinner, the former Queensland Maroons and North Queensland Cowboys star scoring the winning try with eight minutes left on the clock.
Williams’ former Cowboys teammate Rod Jensen was also in fine form, his two tries and overall dominant display earning him the LD Total Cairns CDRL Player of the Round award.
The result leaves Tully still on top of the ladder on points difference, but Innisfail crucially now have a game in hand and the chance to leapfrog their rivals to the summit.
“It was a cracker of a match,” said Williams.
“I said to the boys after the game that I’ve played in a few local derbies, but that was the best game and the biggest crowd I’ve seen.
“Every fan who paid money to come along got full value.”
Kangaroos bounced back from two recent heavy defeats to Tully and Innisfail by hitting the half-ton in a 50-30 win over Mareeba at Vico Oval yesterday (Sunday).
The reigning premiers posted nine tries in total, with back Bradley Stephens in impressive form with a personal tally of 18 points (two tries and five goals).
Mareeba hooker Apenisa Cokanasiga produced perhaps the individual display of the day though, the powerful Fijian scoring four tries in a losing cause.
Brothers continue to put pressure on the top five with a 56-28 victory over Mossman-Port Douglas at Stan Williams Park.
Despite being reduced to 12 men in the first half after the sending off of halfback Maipele Morseau, sixth-placed Brothers were in fine try-scoring form, crossing the tryline 10 times.
Matty Bon and Aaron Guilgo both scored hat-tricks for the hosts, while Mossman-Port Douglas rued the loss of inspirational player-coach David Grainer (suspected cracked sternum) during the game.
Brothers player-coach Chey Bird, who landed eight conversions, said afterwards: “To go down to 12 men and come out of the other end was satisfying.”
Third-placed Yarrabah Seahawks maintaining their hold on a finals spot when they triumphed 42-4 at bottom-of-the-ladder Atherton on Saturday.
Oswald Fourmile (two), Brian Murgha, Charles Murgha, Fenton Murgha, Eddie Prior and Milton Richards all crossed for the Seahawks, while Nathan Curcio grabbed Atherton’s only try.
Edmonton Storm’s finals hope looks a distant possibility after suffering a tense 36-28 Cairns southern corridor derby loss against fourth-placed Southern Suburbs at Barlow Park.
Ivanhoe Knights had a bye.
2014 David McCoy Homes Cairns Key Real Estate A Grade – ROUND 14 RESULTS
SATURDAY 21 JUNE
Innisfail Leprechauns 28 (Jensen 2, Williams, Haren, Laza tries; Topliss 4 goals) def Tully Tigers 26 (MIglio 2, Jolley 2, R. Verney tries; Jolley 3 goals) at Tully Showgrounds.
Yarrabah Seahawks 42 (O. Fourmile 2, B. Murgha, C. Murgha, Prior, F. Murgha, Richards tries; B. Murgha 5, Prior, Bann goals) def Atherton Roosters 4 (Curcio try) at Roosters Stadium.
SUNDAY 22 JUNE
Southern Suburbs 36 (Chinfat 2, M. Oosen 2, Sutherland, Deen, Rayment tries; Deen 4 goals) def Edmonton Storm 28 (Harrison 2, Mills, Wales, Smith tries; Haines 4 goals) at Barlow Park.
Cairns Kangaroos 50 (Stephens 2, Whap 2, Port, Mene, Amber, Gima, Tabuia tries; Stephens 5, Amber 2 goals) def Mareeba Gladiators 30 (Cokanasiga 4, Alofi tries; Hogan 4, Williams goals) at Vico Oval.
Cairns Brothers 56 (Bon 3, Guilgo 3, Anau, O’Farrell, Schell, Swain tries; Bird 8 goals) def Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks 28 (Hayes, Zammataro, Segeyaro, McHugh, R. Oui tries; Akiba 2, Tuccandigee goals) at Stan Williams Park.