Southern Suburbs slog out draw in thriller v Innisfail

Southern Suburbs ground out a 16-16 draw against Innisfail in a tough and physical contest at Alley Park in Gordonvale on Sunday.

Prior to kickoff, A Grade and Reserve players from both teams stood side-by- side in the middle of the field along with everyone else at the ground and observed a minute's silence in honour of long serving Suburbs club man Uncle Aslan Deen who passed away on Saturday.

Innisfail scored the first two tries in the game to lead 10-0 before Suburbs fought back with a four pointer to Richard Joinbee and a successful conversion by Kody Oliver had the home side trailing by four.

A wayward penalty by Aaron Jolley right on the halftime siren failed to extend Innisfail's lead.

A converted try to Innisfail put the visitors out further in front 16-6 before a try to Suburbs A Grade debutante Taj Walker saw them behind by four.

When Ricky Macri crossed the line for Suburbs and Oliver added the extras, the game was set for a grandstand finish with the scores locked at 16 all.

With fulltime looming, both sides scrambled, but despite both sides having a number of scoring opportunities to break the deadlock nothing could separate them at the full time siren.

The tight game created extreme pressure for both sides and players' frustrations at times were evident as they erupted and became embroiled in on-field scuffles.

This was Suburbs second draw of the season and Innisfail's third which sees both teams sitting in top eight on the ladder. 

Suburbs head coach Luke Saunders said it was a tough and even contest against a big Innisfail side.

"Under 18s player Taj Walker who made his A Grade debut scored a nice try in the second half to get us back in the game while Tyreyce Chambers as halfback was impressive in only in his third game," Saunders  said.

Suburbs A grade debutante Taj Walker shows his delight after he barged his way over for a try in the second half. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Suburbs A grade debutante Taj Walker shows his delight after he barged his way over for a try in the second half. Photo: Maria Girgenti

The coach said it was great effort considering his side was not at full strength with three key players - Patrick Gallen, Steven Tatipata and Cephas Chinfat - playing representative footy for Northern Marlins and Aidan Day also not playing this week.

"Our young front rower Ryley Archibald along with Daniel Tatipata were outstanding, while Taj Walker on debut did very well in the middle and really held his own against the likes of Freddy Koraba and Dan Sagigi."

He conceded so far in the season they had many missed a lot of opportunities to put wins on the board, having lost three games by only two points and two draws.

Saunders who is his second year as coach said his side this year has a majority of new local players who have come through last year's Under 18s and Reserve ranks, with Steven Tatipata being the only one recruit outside the club coming from Northern Pride Under 20s.

Suburbs should be back at full strength when they host Kangaroos this weekend and Saunders is confident all the boys will dig deep and try and get the win before having a bye the following weekend.

Ryley Archibald is tackled by Innisfail's Fred Koraba Photo: Maria Girgenti
Ryley Archibald is tackled by Innisfail's Fred Koraba Photo: Maria Girgenti

Round 8 - CAIRNS & DISTRICT RUGBY LEAGUE A GRADE
Mossman-Port Douglas 38 def Edmonton 18, Mareeba 18 def Tully 16, Yarrabah 28 def Atherton 22, Cairns Brothers 38 def Ivanhoes 6, Southern Suburbs 16 drew Innisfail 16 Bye: Kangaroos

Reserve Grade

Atherton 22 drew Yarrabah 22, Mossman-Port Douglas 30 def Edmonton 18, Tully 24 def Mareeba 10, Ivanhoes 42 def Cairns Brothers 22, Southern Suburbs 26 def Innisfail 22

Under 18s

Atherton 36 def Yarrabah 24, Innisfail 28 def Southern Suburbs 0, Ivanhoes 42 def Cairns Brothers 22 

Women's touch 

Mossman-Port Douglas 3 def Edmonton 2, Mareeba 2 def Tully 0, Atherton 2 def Yarrabah 0, Innisfail 3 def Southern Suburbs 1, Ivanhoes 2 def Cairns Brothers 0

Points: Cairns Brothers 12, Atherton 10, Yarrabah 10, Kangaroos 9, Innisfail 9, Mossman-Port Douglas 8, Ivanhoes 7, Southern Suburbs 6, Edmonton 4, Mareeba 4, Tully 1

Round 9 - CDRL June 8-9

Saturday

Innisfail v Cairns Brothers (Callendar Park, Innisfail)

Atherton v Mossman-Port Douglas (Mungalli Creek Dairy Stadium, Atherton)

Yarrabah v Ivanhoes (Jilara Oval, Yarrabah)

Sunday

Southern Suburbs v Kangaroos (Alley Park, Gordonvale)

Edmonton v Tully (Petersen Park, Edmonton)

Bye: Mareeba

Main image: Suburbs try scorer Ricky Macri is wrapped up by Innisfail's Luke Horsford and Ronald Ambrum Photo: Maria Girgenti