Kangaroos go down to Innisfail in gritty clash

Despite Kangaroos launching a second half comeback, they suffered a heartbreaking 14-30 loss at the hands of Innisfail Leprechauns at Callendar Park on Saturday.

The loss saw the Kangaroos slide to seventh place on the ladder, as wins to Atherton and Southern Suburbs put them five points behind the top five.

A victory last week against Atherton was crucial for Kangaroos to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

Kangaroos were playing well and held a 12-10 lead for most of the game until they lost a number of players to injuries which saw their game fall away. 

Innisfail came out firing with tries to George Toby, Fred Koraba and Lachlan Biondi-Odo and the extras added soon put the home side out to a 16-0 lead.

Kangaroos players Ty Millard and Sonny Bingarape desperately try to tackle Innisfail's Dan Sagigi Photo: Maria Girgenti
Kangaroos players Ty Millard and Sonny Bingarape desperately try to tackle Innisfail's Dan Sagigi Photo: Maria Girgenti

With six minutes left in the half, Kangaroos posted first points through Bazie Jacko and when Bradley Stephen added the extras, the blue and gold army went into the sheds trailing by 10.

In the second half, Innisfail continued piling on points with four pointers to Timothy Ambrum and Den Waireg-Ingui which extended their lead to 20.

A try to Kangaroos by Ryhlan Reys with less than 20 minutes left saw them reach double figures and reduce the deficit to 16.

Kangaroos player Jay Arnold is wrapped up by Fred Koraba and Robbie Haren Photo: Maria Girgenti
Kangaroos player Jay Arnold is wrapped up by Fred Koraba and Robbie Haren Photo: Maria Girgenti

Aaron Jolley found the line for Innisfail which further stamped their authority on the game and although a late try by Nathan Geno edged Kangaroos closer, they fell well short.

Kangaroos coach Michael White said he was proud of his team's effort, especially as three reserve grade players backed up.

The side has been battling with a number of injuries each week due to work and family commitments.

The coach gave full credit to reserve grade players Rim Stephen, Juboi Doi and Pa Walter who really stepped up to the challenge.

He said Matty Aurich, Jay Arnold and Jeziah 'Buster' Tillett also performed well while Bradley Stephen added his experience and maturity.

Innisfail's Lata Fakalelu proved difficult for Kangaroos players Bazie Jacko and Matthew Aurich to bring down Photo: Maria Girgenti
Innisfail's Lata Fakalelu proved difficult for Kangaroos players Bazie Jacko and Matthew Aurich to bring down Photo: Maria Girgenti

"A real positive was the boys played with some pride in themselves and the jersey," White  said. 

"They never went away and fought to the very end but Innisfail were just too good."

Hooker Ty Millard, who has been playing great footy all season sustained, a head knock, so depending upon how bad it was; the coach said he may have to sit out this week's game. 

White said the club had been fortunate this year to have some depth which enabled some players in lower grades to 'have a go' .

A narrow loss at home to Atherton in the dying minutes hurt the team and since then, they have struggled to find momentum.

Kangaroos player Sonny Bingarape  Innisfail player Chris Galea Photo: Maria Girgenti
Kangaroos player Sonny Bingarape Innisfail player Chris Galea Photo: Maria Girgenti

This weekend, Kangaroos hope to have a few players back when they face a tough road trip to clash with front-runners Mossman-Port Douglas, who are red hot after notching up their 11th win on the trot against Mareeba.

The last time both sides met, Kangaroos went down to Mossman in the final minutes of the game, but the coach said they accounted for themselves well and felt it was one of the best efforts he had seen.

"Mossman will be difficult to beat at home, as they have some strike power with a lot of their boys who have been in the team for a couple of years, so they can play ad-lib and structured style of footy," White said.

Kangaroos player Nathan Geno is halted by Innisfail's Lachlan Biondi-Odo Photo: Maria Girgenti
Kangaroos player Nathan Geno is halted by Innisfail's Lachlan Biondi-Odo Photo: Maria Girgenti

Innisfail coach Leon Hallie said it was another vital win for the team as they headed into this weekend's bye.

"We didn’t have it our own way which is always the case when you come up against a determined Kangaroos side," Hallie said.

Innisfail's Roy Mooka soars high above Kangaroos defenders to latch onto a high ball Photo: Maria Girgenti
Innisfail's Roy Mooka soars high above Kangaroos defenders to latch onto a high ball Photo: Maria Girgenti

He said Innisfail kept applying pressure and played reasonably well for most of the game.

Lachlan Biondi-Odo has sustained an ankle injury, but the coach said he was hoping he will be okay to play against Atherton which would be another tough contest as both teams vie for a top three finish. 

One of Innisfail's try scorers Lachlan Biondi-Odo sustained an ankle injury during the game against Kangaroos Photo: Maria Girgenti
One of Innisfail's try scorers Lachlan Biondi-Odo sustained an ankle injury during the game against Kangaroos Photo: Maria Girgenti

Round 16 Results

A Grade

Atherton 26 defeated Cairns Brothers 16
Innisfail 30 defeated Kangaroos 14

Mossman-Port Douglas 36 defeated Mareeba 4

Southern Suburbs 24 defeated Ivanhoes 10

Yarrabah 32 defeated Edmonton 24

Bye: Tully

Ladder: Mossman-Port Douglas 22, Yarrabah 22, Innisfail 21, Cairns Brothers 18, Atherton 18, Southern Suburbs 14,  Kangaroos 13, Ivanhoes 13, Edmonton 10, Mareeba 8, Tully 1

Reserve Grade

Cairns Brothers 26 defeated Atherton 12

Innisfail 28 defeated Kangaroos 16

Mareeba 22 defeated Mossman-Port Douglas 18

Southern Suburbs 46 defeated Ivanhoes 12

Edmonton 40 drew with Yarrabah 40

Under 18

Atherton 36 defeated Cairns Brothers 30 

Innisfail won on forfeit by Kangaroos

Mareeba won on forfeit by Mossman-Port Douglas

Ivanhoes 34 defeated Southern Suburbs 6

Edmonton 28 defeated Yarrabah 14

Round 17 A Grade Fixtures

Saturday, August 3

Mossman-Port Douglas v Kangaroos at Coronation Park, Mossman

Ivanhoes v Mareeba at Smithfield Sports Complex

Southern Suburbs v Tully at Alley Park, Gordonvale

Sunday, August 4

Edmonton v Atherton at Petersen Park, Edmonton

Bye: Cairns Brothers, Innisfail and Yarrabah

Main image: Despite being wrapped up by two Kangaroos defenders, Innisfail player Den Waireg-Ingui tries to offload a pass out the back to team mate Timothy Ambrum Photo: Maria Girgenti