Tully Tigers are celebrating their first ever minor premiership after a resounding 40-14 win at Mareeba in the final round of regular season games in the David McCoy Homes Cairns Key Real Estate Cairns District Rugby League A Grade competition at the weekend.
The Tigers finished one point clear of Innisfail, with many now tipping the Cassowary Coast rivals to face each other in a Grand Final showdown.
Tully were again inspired by five-eighth Regan Verney, who scored two tries in another commanding display, while Aaron Jolley was also solid with a personal haul of 16 points (one try, six goals).
“It’s just been a matter of everyone having their role in the club and going to work each week,” Tigers coach Leon Hallie told The Cairns Post.
“They’re a great group of guys, but the coaching staff have been able to get the best out of them as well.”
The other finals spots were also decided, with reigning premiers Kangaroos sealing fourth place after a nervy 20-18 comeback win at Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks.
Roos found themselves 18-10 behind well into the second half and looking like missing the top five, but tries from star backs Bradley Stephen and Linc Port edged them over the line.
“It’s been a great comp from the outset,” Roos coach Michael White told The Cairns Post.
“We knew it’d be tight come finals time, and we’ve managed to hang in there.”
The result means Roos will now face Southern Suburbs in a minor semi-final this weekend, a repeat of last year’s Grand Final.
Suburbs meanwhile scraped through in fifth spot on points difference from Brothers, who beat them 36-26 on Sunday.
Brothers went into the Kenfrost Homes Game of the Round knowing they needed a 25-point win over Suburbs to claim the fifth and last finals spot.
However, despite a brave display from Chey Bird’s men, the Brethren fell short of their required target and became the first Brothers side to miss out on finals footy in 20 years.
In a small consolation, Brothers winger Nathan Trail landed the LD Total Cairns Player of the Round award for his hat-trick of tries.
Although Innisfail could not quite hunt down the Tigers, they still produced a clinical 62-6 win over bottom-of-the-table Atherton Roosters at Callendar Park to cement second spot.
Hayden Topliss, Rod Jensen and Johnathan Growcott all grabbed doubles in the 12-try romp.
The Leprechauns will now face third-placed Yarrabah – who had a bye – in their minor semi-final at Barlow Park this weekend.
Ivanhoe Knights climbed two spots on the ladder to eighth after beating Edmonton in a 28-26 nailbiter at Smithfield Sporting Complex.
Knights captain Trent Barnard finished an injury-interrupted season in style with two tries.
2014 David McCoy Homes Cairns Key Real Estate A Grade – ROUND 22 RESULTS
Saturday 23 August
Ivanhoe Knights 28 (Barnard 2, Munster, Nona, Lloyd tries; Ross 2, Nona 2 goals) def Edmonton Storm 26 (Quakawoot 2, Smith, Toby, S. Murgha tries; L. Murgha 3 goals) at Smithfield Sporting Complex.
Tully Tigers 40 (R. Verney 2, Hughes, Peri, Dore, Jolley, Lama tries; Jolley 6 goals) def Mareeba Gladiators 14 (Tabuai, Koroi, Pedersen tries; Aue goal) at Davies Park, Mareeba.
Innisfail Leprechauns 62 (Topliss 2, Jensen 2, Growcott 2, Romano, Healey, Davis, Fichera, Koraba, Laza tries; Biondi-Odo 5, Topliss 2 goals) def Atherton Roosters 6 (Straatman try; Curcio goal) at Callendar Park, Innisfail.
Cairns Kangaroos 20 (Stephen 2, Port, Peeters tries; Barba 2 goals) def Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks 18 (Whap 2, Daniels, Kulka tries; Hayes goal) at Mossman Showgrounds.
Sunday 24 August
Cairns Brothers 36 (Trail 3, Anau, Tildora, Emery-Hunia, Swain tries; Kelly 4 goals) def Southern Suburbs 26 (Chinfat, Saunders, Day, Coutts, Myles tries; Deen 3 goals) at Alley Park, Gordonvale.
Yarrabah Seahawks - BYE