Tully Tigers produced a memorable comeback to beat Kangaroos 34-27 and retain top spot after Round 18 of the David McCoy Homes Key Real Estate Cairns District Rugby League A Grade competition this weekend.
In the Kenfrost Homes Game of the Round, the Cassowary Coast side were in deep trouble at 27-10 down with just 15 minutes left against the reigning premiers, and in danger of falling to second on the ladder to Innisfail in the race for the minor premiership.
However, two tries in the last three minutes to Jonathan Hughes and the inspirational Regan Verney gave the Tigers two competition points and the ladder lead on points difference, although Innisfail do have a bye and game in hand.
The Leprechauns also did it tough at Callendar Park on Saturday night against Ivanhoes, who took a shock 20-8 half-time lead against Ty Williams’ men.
But Innisfail showed their class in the second stanza as 2013 Reserve Grade Player of the Year Jonathan Growcott scored a hat-trick and in the process sealed the LD Total Cairns CDRL Player of the Round award.
Innisfail eventually ran out 40-20 winners against a brave Knights side which continue to improve in the latter stages of the season, with the loss being their first in four games.
Innisfail coach Ty Williams said he was pleased his side put on 32 unanswered second-half points when under pressure.
“Full credit to Ivanhoes, they stuck it to us in the first half, and I was very impressed by them,” said Williams.
“It wasn’t a position we’ve been in all year, and it was interesting as a coach to see how the players would react to being behind.
“So to put on a second half display like that really pleased me. It was a test of character for us, and we did what we had to do.
“Saying that, I’m still waiting for a game this year where we put the full 80 together, so there’s still room for improvement.
“I was also pleased for Jonathan – he’s been around a while, but has come on a lot in the last month, and scored a really good second try.”
Edmonton Storm produced perhaps the comeback of the day, when a last-second try to centre Landon Kuyana secured a dramatic 36-34 win over third-placed Yarrabah and kept alive the Storm’s finals hopes.
Yarrabah led 28-10 at one stage, and then 34-30 before Kuyana struck with the last play of the match next to the posts.
Lyle Murgha confidently slotted over the winning penalty on the siren, and the Storm celebrated a win which leaves them in seventh spot, and four points behind a finals spot with four rounds remaining.
Brothers took advantage of Roos’ slip-up against Tully by sealing a routine 38-6 win over struggling Atherton and leapfrogging Roos into the crucial fifth spot on the ladder.
Brethren halfback Eddie Daniel was the star of the show, crossing for four tries, while Lachlan Parmenter also chipped in with a double.
Southern Suburbs continue to quietly go about their work as they cemented fourth place with a comfortable 46-16 win at home to Mareeba Gladiators on Saturday night.
It was a forwards’ fiesta in the try-scoring stakes as prop Aiden Day (3), hooker Ali Henley (2) and backrower Luke Saunders (2) dominated the scoresheet for Suburbs.
Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks had a bye.
2014 David McCoy Homes Cairns Key Real Estate A Grade – ROUND 18 RESULTS
SATURDAY 19 JULY
Edmonton Storm 36 (Pryor 2, L. Kuyana, Smith, Wales, Tutavake tries; L. Murgha 5, S. Murgha goals) def Yarrabah Seahawks 34 (Bann, M. Mossman, J. Kuyana, C. Murgha, C. Mossman, Tatipata tries; C. Murgha 5 goals) at Petersen Park, Edmonton.
Innisfail Leprechauns 40 (Growcott 3, Davis, Fleming, Romano, Fate, Laza tries; Topliss 4 goals) def Ivanhoe Knights 20 (Delany 2, Barnard, Green tries; Nona 2 goals) at Callendar Park, Innisfail.
Southern Suburbs 46 (Day 3, Saunders 2, Henley 2, Sutherland, M. Oosen tries; Riesen 4, Nicolaou goals) def Mareeba Gladiators 16 (Alofi, Cokanasiga, Kori tries; Aue 2 goals) at Alley Park, Gordonvale.
Cairns Brothers 38 (Daniel 4, Parmenter 2, Mooka, Dunbar tries; Mooka 2, Kelly goals) def Atherton Roosters 6 (Lepardi try; Curcio goal) at Stan Williams Park, Manunda.
SUNDAY 20 JULY
Tully Tigers 34 (R. Verney 2, Hughes, Tauli, Miglio, Sala tries; Jolley 5 goals) def Kangaroos 27 (Allen 2, Whap, Gima, Port tries; Stephens 3 goals; Amber field goal) at Vico Oval, Cairns.