Southern Suburbs kept up the pressure on third-placed Innisfail with a dramatic 28-26 derby win over Edmonton Storm in Round 15 of the Cairns District Rugby League A Grade competition on Sunday.
Southern Suburbs winger Richard Joinbee was the hero, scoring a thrilling try on the siren, with Kieran Colahan keeping his nerve to slot over the winning conversion.
Joinbee’s try completed his hat-trick, while he also landed three conversions for an 18-point haul as Suburbs claimed southern corridor bragging rights.
The teenager, in his inaugural season in A Grade, was named the LD Total Cairns Player of the Round for his superb performance.
Suburbs coach Greg Annison was delighted his side, who were 10 points behind Edmonton at one stage of the game, finally edged a tight contest after several near misses this year.
“We’ve been having a lot of bad starts and been having to fight back in games, so the boys have been concentrating on finishing games well,” said Annison.
“We’re just glad we finally got one back after a few last-minute losses ourselves this season.
“It’s about trying to find ways to win games, and the boys are learning that.”
Suburbs face a tough run of games against high-flyers Tully, Innisfail, Ivanhoes and Brothers in coming weeks.
“We’ve certainly got a hard few weeks ahead of us, but we’re in the right area of the ladder, and if we can stay in the top five, anything can happen in the finals,” said Annison.
Innisfail produced one of the displays of the year to beat reigning premiers Kangaroos 54-0 at Vico Oval, their sixth win in seven games.
The Leprechauns, who have averaged 49 points a game in their last four games, were in dominant mood, with Anthony Perkins, Fred Koraba and Dan Sagigi all scoring two tries apiece in the 10-try romp.
Cairns Brothers continued their excellent run of form with a 44-16 victory over Yarrabah Seahawks at Stan Williams Park.
The game was marred by injuries to Brothers pair Robbie Swain (neck) and Jayden Gil (concussion), who were both taken away by ambulance.
Former NRL forward Joel Riethmuller showed his class with a two-try performance, while Aaron Guilgo also grabbed a double.
Ivanhoe Knights kept alive their finals dream after a convincing 48-0 win over Atherton Roosters at Smithfield Sporting Complex on Saturday night.
The Knights, who are in fifth spot, led 26-0 at the break and kept the points flowing in the second half. Centre Troyson Bassini (two tries) was a stand-out for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Mareeba Gladiators back Tom Hughes helped his side to an impressive 44-20 triumph against Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks at Davies Park.
Hughes scored a hat-trick of tries, while Dwayne Williams 2, Drystan Hayes, Darren Mitchell, and Williams Dodd also chipped in with four-pointers.
Top-of-the-ladder Tully Tigers had a bye.
2015 DAVID MCCOY HOMES CAIRNS KEY REAL ESTATE A GRADE - ROUND 15 RESULTS:
SATURDAY 4 JULY
Ivanhoe Knights 48 (Codey Kennedy 2, Troyson Bassini 2, Jared Verney, Galo Teo, Reece Munster, Ben Pye, Ben Reed tries; Jared Verney 5, Reece Munster goals) def Atherton Roosters 0 at Smithfield Sporting Complex.
Mareeba Gladiators 44 (Tom Hughes 3, Dwayne Williams 2, Drystan Hayes, Darren Mitchell, Williams Dodd tries; Dwayne Williams 5, Rylan Reys goals) def Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks 20 (Keenan Grogan, David Oui 2, Lawrence Waigana tries; Darren Cobb, Robbie Amber goals) at Davies Park, Mareeba.
SUNDAY 5 JULY
Innisfail Leprechauns 54 (Anthony Perkins 2, Fred Koraba 2, Dan Sagigi 2, Rod Jensen, Rob Haren, Luke Romano, Jordan Biondi-Odo tries; Matthew Healey 7 goals) def Cairns Kangaroos 0 at Vico Oval, Cairns.
Southern Suburbs 28 (Richard Joinbee 3, Harrison Elliott, Jai Watson tries; Richard Joinbee 3, Kieran Colahan goals) def Edmonton Storm 26 (Ali Henley 3, Travis Harrison tries; Setimus Ambrym 5 goals) at Alley Park, Gordonvale.
Cairns Brothers 44 (Joel Riethmuller 2, Aaron Guilgo 2, Matt Bon, Sonny Rea, Corey Child, Ezra Charlie tries; Adam Kelly 6 goals) def Yarrabah Seahawks 16 (Andrew Garrett 2, Javen Gibson tries; Charles Murgha 2 goals) at Stan Williams Park, Cairns.
Tully Tigers – Bye.