Innisfail reclaim David Morris Memorial Shield

Despite a late surge by Cairns Brothers, Innisfail proved too strong and ran out 26-18 winners at Stan Williams Park on Sunday to finish with triple success in all three grades.

They also brought home the Cairns Hardware Challenge David Morris Memorial Shield.

The shield is played annually between both clubs and has been running for eight years in memory of David Morris, who worked as a salesman at Cairns Hardware in Innisfail and was involved with the Innisfail club for many years.

Aggregate points after the teams met in Round 9 last month had Cairns Brothers in front with 78 points with Innisfail on 65 points, so all three games were hotly contested.

A clean sweep in all three grades saw Innisfail finish with 142 points ahead of Cairns on 127 points and claim the coveted Shield. 

After the A Grade game, the best and fairest players were presented to Tom Spark for Cairns and Lachlan Biondi-Odo for Innisfail as decided by the fans watching on the hill.

Lachlan Biondi-Odo was named Best and Fairest Player for Innisfail Photo: Maria Girgenti
Lachlan Biondi-Odo was named Best and Fairest Player for Innisfail Photo: Maria Girgenti

The wins to Yarrabah and Innisfail saw Cairns Brothers slip from second to fourth on the ladder, just behind Yarrabah in second and Innisfail in third.

Isaiah Wigness registered first points for Cairns Brothers and a second try to Patrick Lewis put the Brethren out to a eight point lead.

Innisfail struck back soon after with a try each to Tamati Huirama, Fred Koraba and George Toby and when Lachlan Biondi-Odo knocked over two of the three conversions, they took a 16-8 lead at halftime.

One of Innisfail's try scorers Tamati Huirama is wrapped up by Luke Fleming Photo: Maria Girgenti
One of Innisfail's try scorers Tamati Huirama is wrapped up by Luke Fleming Photo: Maria Girgenti

In the second half, Innisfail continued in the same fashion with a try to Ronald Ambrum and Luke Horsford further extended their lead by 18.

Despite a late surge by Cairns with a try to Peter Tuccandidgee and Theo Majid, the Brethren finished with an eight-point deficit at the fulltime siren.

Cairns Brothers coach Paul Stevens said going into the game there were a number of key players missing from their side including Teddy Kepa, Quinlyn Cannon,Terrence Casey-Douglas and Gabriel Tognolini.

"The boys showed a lot of character, gritty determination and really stepped up," Stevens said. 

"It was pleasing when the Innisfail coach made mention of the number of skilled young players in our side."

The youngest players found the going tough late in the first half however, but were able to bounce back in the second and gave it back to the opposition. 

The Brethren had a horror day with Evan Child, Corey Child and Joe Eichner going off with injuries, which left only one player left on their bench.

Cairns Brothers player Joe Eichner is stopped in his tracks by Innisfail's Jaymon Moore and Dan Sagigi Photo: Maria Girgenti
Cairns Brothers player Joe Eichner is stopped in his tracks by Innisfail's Jaymon Moore and Dan Sagigi Photo: Maria Girgenti

"It's encouraging that in last week's comeback win against Yarrabah and this week's narrow loss against Innisfail, we were under strength with a lot of players out of the side," Stevens said.

Stevens said all season the side had been challenged with injuries, which had stopped them from putting the best side possible on the park.

The coach however felt all of his younger players such as Cameron Graham, Tom Spark and Dontoray Lui were outstanding.

Cairns Brothers player Tom Spark runs into Innisfail's Luke Horsford and Joel Lokotui was named Best and Fairest after the match Photo: Maria Girgenti
Cairns Brothers player Tom Spark runs into Innisfail's Luke Horsford and Joel Lokotui was named Best and Fairest after the match Photo: Maria Girgenti

This weekend, Cairns Brothers travel up the hill to face Mareeba, and the coach feels they will tough to beat at their home ground and in cold weather conditions.

Innisfail coach Leon Hallie said it was good to get the away win against Cairns as "it's always a tough contest".

Solid defence is what won it for Innisfail and Cairns weren't able to repel them.

Innisfail player Den Waireg-Ingui is pulled back by Cairns Brothers player Evan Child Photo: Maria Girgenti
Innisfail player Den Waireg-Ingui is pulled back by Cairns Brothers player Evan Child Photo: Maria Girgenti

Hallie said he was happy with the way his side controlled the middle of the paddock which saw the back line scoring off that, but conceded that for most of the game, they didn't allow the younger players too much freedom until they clawed their way back late in the second half.

Hallie said this year's competition was even - and while Tully haven't won a game this season, their margin of loss has only been by four to six points.

"It's just a matter of who gets it right on the day, has depth on the park as all sides are getting injuries so we rely on boys in the lower ranks to step up and get the job done," Hallie said.

Innisfail's Ronald Ambrum breaks away from Cairns players Isaiah Wigness and Calan Dunbar on his way to the try line Photo: Maria Girgenti
Innisfail's Ronald Ambrum breaks away from Cairns players Isaiah Wigness and Calan Dunbar on his way to the try line Photo: Maria Girgenti

Innisfail will now travel away to face Ivanhoes which will be another tough match up.

Round 14 Results

A Grade

Mossman-Port Douglas 24 defeated Atherton 20
Edmonton 32 defeated Tully 24

Innisfail 26 defeated Cairns Brothers 18

Yarrabah 44 defeated Ivanhoes 40

Southern Suburbs 34 defeated Kangaroos 8

Bye: Mareeba

Ladder: Mossman-Port Douglas 20, Yarrabah 18, Innisfail 17, Cairns Brothers 16, Atherton 14, Kangaroos 13, Ivanhoes 13, Southern Suburbs 12, Mareeba 8, Edmonton 8, Tully 1

Innisfail's Elia Mooka manages to offload the ball despite being wrapped up by two Cairns Brothers players Photo: Maria Girgenti
Innisfail's Elia Mooka manages to offload the ball despite being wrapped up by two Cairns Brothers players Photo: Maria Girgenti

Reserve Grade

Mossman-Port Douglas 40 defeated Atherton 16

Edmonton 44 defeated Tully 22

Innisfail 24 defeated Cairns Brothers 18

Yarrabah 52 defeated Ivanhoes 14

Southern Suburbs 30 defeated Kangaroos 16

Under 18

Atherton won on forfeit by Mossman-Port Douglas

Edmonton won on forfeit by Tully

Innisfail 30 defeated Cairns Brothers 22

Ivanhoes 30 defeated Yarrabah 22

Southern Suburbs 54 defeated Kangaroos 18

Round 15 A Grade Fixtures

Saturday, July 20

Mareeba v Cairns Brothers at Davies Park, Mareeba

Atherton v Kangaroos at Mungalli Creek Dairy Stadium, Atherton

Southern Suburbs v Edmonton at Alley Park, Gordonvale

Tully v Yarrabah at Tully Showgrounds

Sunday, July 21

Ivanhoes v Innisfail at Smithfield Sports Complex

Bye: Mossman-Port Douglas

Main image: Innisfail had a clean sweep in three grades against Cairns Brothers to take home the Cairns Hardware Challenge David Morris Memorial Shield at Stan Williams Park on Sunday Photo: Maria Girgenti

Cairns Brothers player Isaiah Wigness is secured by Innisfail players George Toby and Tamati Huirama Photo: Maria Girgenti
Cairns Brothers player Isaiah Wigness is secured by Innisfail players George Toby and Tamati Huirama Photo: Maria Girgenti