A triple treat of tries to Jacob Wallace helped Ivanhoes bounce back with a gutsy 22-16 away victory over Tully on Saturday at Tully Showgrounds.
First points in the game came through a successful penalty kick by Phil Nona; Tully's only points in the first half.
Ivanhoes scored their first try through Dallas Skardon before Wallace crossed for his first four pointer just before halftime and converted his own try put the Knights out to a 10-2 lead at the break.
In the second half, Tully retaliated with a converted try to Nona which saw the home side trailing by two.
When Nona slotted another important penalty kick for Tully, scores were locked at 10-10.
A missed penalty kick by Wallace meant the Ivanhoes failed to break the deadlock, but soon after, they crossed for two more tries and slotted the extras to put the lead out to 22-10.
A try to Tully's Epith Guligo in the dying minutes of the game and conversion by Nona was a little too late for the home side as they fell short by six points.
Knights coach Jono Zangrande said it was good to get the win against Tully, especially after last week's heavy away loss to Mossman-Port Douglas where a lot of their players were missing.
"Last week in the circumstances, we put our best team possible on the paddock, but Mossman were just far too good and we just had to hang in there," Zangrande said.
He also said there were six or seven players still to return due to injury which was making it a challenge to find consistency side each week.
"It was good to have our centre Hunter McCombie, Andrew Stott and brothers Eli and Joel Dionysius return this week as they were physical and made a real impact in the game."
He added that Dominic Biondi was impressive along with Wallace.
The coach said he felt confident that if the players could defend well for two or three sets of six and then put in a good kick chase, that potentially they could outdo them with their fitness and "a bit of a grind".
"We need a lot more polish on our execution and missed a number of scoring opportunities from the wrong options, but on the flip side our defence was very good," Zangrande said.
The boys did it tough again off the back of their own mistakes, but it was good to see we got the job done."
He conceded that in the second half, they only had seven or eight sets of six until around the 34th minute, which was a lot of defence for the players to undertake.
"In the lead up to to the game, we were able to put together a pretty good training session. For the first time this year, I put a lot pressure on the end result as it's getting to that crucial point in the season," Zangrande said.
Ivanhoes weren't without injury woes themselves, with Keelan White leaving the field with a sore knee. Stott has a suspected broken rib, while fullback Rhy Young has an ankle injury. The players are set to be monitored and assessed during the week.
This weekend, Ivanhoes travel to face Edmonton Storm - another tough contest against a physical side.
Round 12 Results
Atherton 36 defeated Mareeba 22 to retain the Tableland Cup
Ivanhoes 22 defeated Tully 16
Mossman-Port Douglas 36 defeated Innisfail 26
Cairns Brothers 38 defeated Southern Suburbs 24
Yarrabah 58 defeated Kangaroos 8
Ladder: Mossman-Port Douglas 16, Yarrabah 16, Cairns Brothers 14, Atherton 14, Innisfail 13, Kangaroos 11, Ivanhoes 11, Southern Suburbs 10, Mareeba 8, Edmonton 6, Tully 1
Atherton 20 defeated Mareeba 14
Tully 26 defeated Ivanhoes 6
Mossman-Port Douglas 18 defeated Innisfail 12
Cairns Brothers 32 defeated Southern Suburbs 12
Yarrabah 34 defeated Kangaroos 32
Ivanhoes won on forfeit by Tully
Atherton won on forfeit by Mareeba
Yarrabah won on forfeit by Kangaroos
Innisfail won on forfeit by Mossman-Port Douglas
Cairns Brothers won on forfeit by Southern Suburbs
Round 13 A Grade Fixtures
Saturday, July 6
Innisfail v Tully at Callendar Park, Innisfail
Edmonton v Ivanhoes at Petersen Park, Edmonton
Sunday, July 7
Southern Suburbs v Mossman-Port Douglas at Alley Park, Gordonvale
Yarrabah v Cairns Brothers at Jilara Oval, Yarrabah
Kangaroos v Mareeba at Vico Oval, Mooroobool
Main image: Ivahoes player Dominic Biondi tries to slip a pass out the back before being tackled by a Tully player Photo: Maria Girgenti