Tully Tigers moved to the top of the David McCoy Homes Cairns Key Real Estate Cairns District Rugby League A Grade ladder with an impressive 28-8 win at second-placed Cairns Brothers on Sunday.
Centre Greg Miglio continued his scoring streak with another brace, while Aaron Jolley, Matthew Musumeci and Leroy Rankin also crossed for tries after the visitors led 10-4 at the break.
Tully coach Leon Hallie said he was pleased with his side’s fitness levels after pushing on in the second half to overrun the home side.
“It was pretty tight in the first 50 minutes, but we managed to get on top in the last quarter of the game, which was pleasing,” said Hallie.
“It was a good even battle but I think our fitness was a bit better than them towards the end, and we also stuck to our game plan.”
Hallie praised the contribution of 17-year-old halfback Jake Clifford, who will play for North Queensland Cowboys Under 20s in 2016.
“Jake’s been outstanding for us since he’s come in, and you need to remind yourself that he’s still only 17,” said Hallie.
“He’s a young fella who has brought a lot of energy to the group, and is very level-headed.
“My thinking was that if he’s good enough for Cowboys Under 20s then he’s good enough for A Grade, and he’s proving exactly that.”
Hallie admitted his side’s slow start to the year (2-2 after four rounds following by four straight wins) was due to key personnel changes in the off season.
“It did take us a while to find our feet without Regan and Jared Verney (signed by Northern Pride), and we’re playing a slightly different style to last year,” he said.
“But we’ve settled down now, and with the comp much tighter this year, our aim is just to avoid any mad scramble for finals place at the end of the regular season.”
Ivanhoe Knights outlined their premiership potential with a hard-fought 31-18 win over Edmonton Storm at Petersen Park.
Codey Kennedy scored a hat-trick of tries for Ivanhoes, and in the process earned himself the LD Total Cairns Player of the Round.
Connor Skardon, Regan Verney and Zane Prior were also on the scoresheet for the Knights, while Septimus Ambrym (two) and Eddie Daniel crossed for the hosts in a physical encounter.
Reigning premiers Cairns Kangaroos produced an epic comeback from 20-4 down at halftime and 30-14 with 15 minutes left against Mossman-Port Douglas to secure a thrilling 34-30 victory at Vico Oval.
Kangaroos, who started Round 9 bottom of the ladder, were in desperate need of two points but looked set for another disappointing result when the Sharks took hold of the game.
But Roos, inspired once again by the irrepressible Bradley Stephen, launched their comeback and sealed a dramatic win when halfback Darryl Majid crossed with two minutes left on the clock.
Atherton Roosters continued their resurgence with an exciting 36-30 triumph over Yarrabah Seahawks in a high-scoring encounter at Roosters Stadium on Saturday night.
Rhys Brady led the scoring with a superb hat-trick, while Alex Sala (two), Waylon Joseph and Jimmy Nawaibalavu also notched four-pointers for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Southern Suburbs remain in the top five after a high-class 44-24 win over Mareeba Gladiators at Alley Park.
Cephas Chinfat and Raji Hari scored two tries apiece for the Cockatoos.
Innisfail Leprechauns had a bye.
2015 DAVID MCCOY HOMES CAIRNS KEY REAL ESTATE A GRADE - ROUND 9 RESULTS:
SATURDAY 16 MAY
Cairns Kangaroos 34 (B. Stephen 2, Doi, T. Stephen, Pau, Majid tries; Stephen 5 goals) def Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks 30 (Creek, Oui, Burchill, Lightning, Whap tries; Cobb 4 goals) at Vico Oval, Cairns.
Atherton Roosters 36 (Brady 3, Sala 2, Joseph, Nawaibalavu tries; Grant 4 goals) def Yarrabah Seahawks 30 (Garrett 2, M. Murgha, C. Murgha, Canendo, Mossman tries; B. Murgha 2, C. Murgha goals) at Roosters Stadium, Atherton.
SUNDAY 17 MAY
Tully Tigers 28 (Miglio 2, Jolley, Musumeci, Rankin tries; Clifford 4 goals) def Cairns Brothers 8 (Curcio, Morseau tries) at Stan Williams Park, Cairns.
Ivanhoe Knights 31 (Kennedy 3, Skardon, R. Verney, Prior tries; J. Verney 2, Pye goals) def Edmonton Storm 18 (Ambrym 2, Daniel tries; Ambrym 3 goals) at Petersen Park, Edmonton.
Southern Suburbs 44 (Chinfat 2, Hari 2, Fourmile, Nicoloau, Myles, Richardson tries; Chinfat 6 goals) def Mareeba Gladiators 24 (Walker 2, Aue, Grainer, Foster tries; Aue, Nona goals) at Alley Park, Gordonvale.
Innisfail Leprechauns – bye.