The Sunshine Coast Falcons have ousted the Burleigh Bears from top spot in the Intrust Super Cup with a hard-earned 16-4 win.
The Falcons needed a win to stay in touch with a congested top eight and, for the third week in a row, produced a narrow, grinding victory against strong opposition.
Sunshine Coast played smart, controlled football and showed terrific application in defence, especially on their own tryline.
Three consecutive wins have seen them shoot up to seventh spot on the ladder, while back-to-back losses sees Burleigh drop to second place, with the Townsville Blackhawks assuming top spot on for-and-against.
The Bears looked the most likely to score first with a promising raid in the sixth minute, but the final pass was plucked by Falcons winger Iliesa Ratuva who ran 90 metres to score.
From there, Sunshine Coast took control thanks to the collective good work of their big men, with hooker Harry Grant doing an outstanding job of directing traffic.
Ryan Papenhuyzen extended the lead to eight points with a 25th minute penalty goal, before PNG international Justin Olam powered his way to the tryline and gave the Falcons a commanding 14-0 lead.
Burleigh needed halftime to regroup but found a spark in the 38th minute when brothers Dallas and Henare Wells combined to put Tyronne Roberts-Davis away down the sideline.
That brought the score line to 14-4 and an arm wrestle ensued in the second half as the Bears tried desperately to cut the margin back, only for the Falcons to repel Burleigh raids again and again.
The Bears sent repeated attacks down their left, but the defence of Ratuva and Sander Earl - playing just his second rugby league game since 2013 - was up to the task.
Another Papenhuyzen penalty goal with 10 minutes to go extended the lead to 12, as the Falcons ran down the clock and posted an important win.
The Intrust Super Cup will break next weekend for representative round.
Four Bears will be in action, with Pat Politoni, Blake Leary and Jamal Fogarty all selected to play for the Queensland Residents in the curtain raiser to State of Origin 2 on Sunday, while Luke Page will represent the PNG Kumuls in Saturday afternoon's Test match against Fiji.
Bears quartet Tazmin Gray, Tallisha Harden, Rona Peters and Zahara Temara will also be on show during representative weekend, competing for Queensland in the Women's State of Origin game on Friday night.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 16 (I Rutuva, J Olam tries R Papenhuyzen 4 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 4 (T Roberts-Davis try) at Pizzey Park.