In a gritty arm wrestle, fourth placed Ivanhoes Knights went down fighting with a narrow six point loss to Innisfail Leprechauns at Callendar Park on Saturday.
Innisfail scored the first two tries before the Knights struck back with a try to fullback Rhy Young and Andrew Stott to have the scores locked up at 10-10 until Jacob Wallace added the extras which saw Ivanhoes with a slim two-point lead at the break.
The Knights scored first in the second half through Benjamin Reed and the conversion slotted by Wallace extended their lead to 18 - 10.
Innisfail had a late surge and registered two tries in quick succession which put them back in front by two points.
A try in the final minutes of the game by Innisfail saw them snatch a 24-18 victory, which now leapfrogs them past Yarrabah to fourth position on the ladder ahead.
Ivanhoes head coach Jono Zangrande said his side were up against a tough side with a monster pack in slippery conditions which was difficult, but across the park he couldn't fault all the boys for efforts with line speed and enthusiasm.
"While footy can be cruel, I felt at times we lacked a little bit of polish when we really needed it and errors which leaked us points and ultimately cost us the game," Zangrande said.
"Our five-eighth Rhylee Herd stayed square, dug into the line and pulled off two good shape moves.
"Whenever Brent Oosen and Benjamin Reid take the field they add calm to the players and lead from example.
"Every time we play, the opposition coach always comments on how the boys play the game which is a real credit to how we are doing things."
Zangrande, who is in his first year with A Grade, coached the side when they were in Under 18s, so he knows them pretty well and the boys know what is expected.
He said the Ivanhoes club was thriving and there is a lot of positive hype around what we can achieve.
The loss by Ivanhoes was worsened by an injury to their half back Rhys Jones in the second half, who left the field with a suspected broken ankle.
Zangrande said as a coach, it was his job to figure out to a plan to work around the injury and if they had to change their style of play to suit, then so be it.
"Matthew Dooley shows good leadership in Under 18s side, so we'll just have to see if it's ready to play if he's ready to play A Grade or find another option," he said.
This weekend, Ivanhoes host Cairns Brothers in what will be a tough game, but Zangrande said his side would be "aiming to grind out a full 80 minutes of footy with some polish and hopefully come away with a win."
Round 7 - CAIRNS & DISTRICT RUGBY LEAGUE A GRADE
Innisfail 24 def Ivanhoes 18, Southern Suburbs 42 def Edmonton 22, Atherton 26 def Kangaroos 20, Cairns Brothers 28 def Mareeba 24, Yarrabah 32 def Tully 26 Bye: Mossman-Port Douglas
Innisfail 22 def Ivanhoes 16, Southern Suburbs 24 def Edmonton 20, Atherton 14 def Kangaroos 12, Yarrabah 32 def Tully 26, Cairns Brothers 16 def Mareeba 6
Edmonton 48 def Southern Suburbs 0, Innisfail 26 drew Ivanhoes 26, Cairns Brothers 52 def Mareeba 0, Atherton 18 def Kangaroos 16
Innisfail 4 def Ivanhoes 0, Edmonton 3 def Southern Suburbs 0, Atherton 7 def Kangaroos 0, Tully 2 def Yarrabah 0, Mareeba 2 def Cairns Brothers 0
Points: Cairns Brothers 10, Atherton 10, Kangaroos 9, Innisfail 8, Yarrabah 8, Ivanhoes 7, Mossman-Port Douglas 6, Southern Suburbs 5, Edmonton 4, Mareeba 2, Tully 1
Round 8 - CDRL June 1-2
Mossman-Port Douglas v Edmonton (Coronation Park, Mossman)
Tully v Mareeba (Tully Showgrounds)
Atherton v Yarrabah (Mungalli Creek Dairy Stadium, Atherton)
Sunday - Ivanhoes v Cairns Brothers (Smithfield Sports Complex)
Southern Suburbs v Innisfail (Alley Park, Gordonvale)