Tully Tigers drew with finals rivals Atherton Roosters for the second time this season on Saturday night in a perfect warm-up for their 2016 Cairns District Rugby League A Grade elimination final this weekend.
The final round of this year’s regular season saw the two foes draw 24-24 at Roosters Stadium, with Tully coming from 16-4 down to lead 24-22 with two minutes on the clock before Nigel Woodleigh slotted a game-levelling penalty for Atherton.
Atherton and Tully will now go head-to-head this weekend at Barlow Park in what is expected to be another thrilling encounter.
“We’ve drawn twice this year so no one really knows what’s going to happen next week,” Roosters coach Dean Howard told The Cairns Post.
“Their backs probably run their whole game rather than their forwards.
“I think we overpowered them in the forwards, but they have big wingers and centres and they basically use them as front-rowers and they’re really big and mobile.”
Tully knew they had secured a finals spot following Mossman’s 32-10 loss to Ivanhoes the previous night.
Ivanhoes back Jared Verney again stood out for second-placed Ivanhoes, scoring two tries and landing three goals.
The Knights will now play third-placed Cairns Brothers, who beat Mareeba 41-24, in this weekend’s Major Semi-Final.
Nathan Kepa and Chris Riesen both notched doubles for the Brethren, while Kepa also slotted over four conversions and a field goal to be named LD Total Cairns Player of the Round.
Minor premiers Innisfail finished off their impressive season with another resounding win, this time a 58-12 thrashing of Edmonton.
Eddie Morrison-Sailor and Dan Sagigi both scored hat-tricks, and Fred Koraba (2), Brett Anderson and Ian Bounghi also chipped in with four-pointers for the Leprechauns, who now have the week off.
Meanwhile, Yarrabah Seahawks ensured Southern Suburbs took the wooden spoon in 2016 with a thrilling 42-38 victory over the Cockatoos at Jilara Oval.
Oscar Fourmile rounded off the Seahawks’ year with three tries, with Charles Murgha also crossing twice.
Cairns Kangaroos had a bye.
2016 DAVID MCCOY HOMES CAIRNS KEY REAL ESTATE A GRADE - ROUND 22 RESULTS:
FRIDAY 26 AUGUST
Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks v Ivanhoe Knights (Mossman Showgrounds)
Reserve Grade - Mossman-Port Douglas 30-32 Ivanhoes
A Grade - Ivanhoes 32 (J. Verney 2, R. Verney, Prior, Barnard, Reed tries; J. Verney 3, Prior goals) def Mossman-Port Douglas 10 (Oui, Satrick tries; Daniel goal).
SATURDAY 27 AUGUST
Mareeba Gladiators v Cairns Brothers (Davies Park, Mareeba)
Second Division - Malanda 36-32 Brothers
Reserve Grade - Mareeba 12-56 Brothers
A Grade - Brothers 41 (N. Kepa 2, Riesen 2, Emery-Hunia, Tatipata, T. Kepa, Eustace tries; N. Kepa 4 goals; N. Kepa field goal) def Mareeba 24 (King 2, Hughes, Posselt, Dodd tries; Reys, King goals).
Innisfail Leprechauns v Edmonton Storm (Callendar Park, Innisfail)
Under 18s - Innisfail 46-6 Edmonton
Reserve Grade - Innisfail 18-40 Edmonton
A Grade - Innisfail 58 (Morrison-Sailor 3, Sagigi 3, Koraba 2, Anderson, Bounghi tries; Healey 9 goals) def Edmonton 12 (B. Murgha, McNaught tries; Kusu, Bann goals).
Atherton Roosters v Tully Tigers (Roosters Stadium, Atherton)
Under 18s - Atherton 32-14 Tully
Reserve Grade - Atherton 18-24 Tully
A Grade - Atherton 24 (Rivett, Nawaibalavu, Campbell, Lealaitafea tries; Woodleigh 4 goals) drew with Tully 24 (Gibuma 2, Rata-Makene, Rosendale, Miglio tries; Lavell 2 goals).
SUNDAY 28 AUGUST
Yarrabah Seahawks v Southern Suburbs (Jilara Oval, Yarrabah)
Reserve Grade - Yarrabah 38-24 Suburbs
A Grade - Yarrabah 42 (O. Fourmile 3, C. Murgha 2, Duncan, Dabah, Bounghi tries; Dabah 3, Ambrym 2 goals) def Suburbs 38 (Stampa 2, Brock 2, L. Murgha, Bailey, B. Fourmile tries; Massey 5 goals).
CAIRNS KANGAROOS – BYE
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