Innisfail off to grand final after spirited Mossman fightback

A spirited second half fightback by Innisfail Leprechauns gave them a 32-26 victory over minor premiers Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks at Barlow Park on Sunday and a spot in the decider.

First points came through a penalty kick by Mossman-Port Douglas in the opening minutes of the match.

Soon the Sharks found their straps when Aggie Gibuma streaked away for a runaway try and went out to a 6-0 lead when Daniel Mareko booted the extras.

Mossman scored another four pointer, before Innisfail posted their first and only points of the half with a try to Dan Sagigi and a successful conversion Michael Morton had them behind by six points.

Innisfail's Dan Sagigi makes a strong bursting run through the Mossman-Port Douglas defence. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Innisfail's Dan Sagigi makes a strong bursting run through the Mossman-Port Douglas defence. Photo: Maria Girgenti

Soon after, the competition's leading try scorer Matthew Gibuma found the try line for Mossman which put them 16-6 ahead.

An amazing intercept by Stanley Anau and slick pass to Matthew Gibuma almost resulted in more points for the Sharks, before Innisfail shut things down.

A try to Mossman and successful penalty kick just before halftime saw them go into the sheds at the break with a convincing 22-6 lead.

Mossman Sharks player Matthew Bon runs into Innisfail players Elia Mooka and Johann Turner. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Mossman Sharks player Matthew Bon runs into Innisfail players Elia Mooka and Johann Turner. Photo: Maria Girgenti

After a few home truths by coach Leon Hallie at the break, Innisfail came out firing with tries to Luke Horsford, Den Waireg-Ingui, Robert Haren and a second try to Sagigi.

Two penalty kicks slotted by Morton in the final 11 minutes of play put Innisfail out to a 32-22 lead.

A second try to Sharks' centre Gabriel Bon game kept their hopes alive with four minutes left to play.

The Sharks went on the attack on the fulltime siren and threw the ball around, but some desperate defence by Innisfail sealed the all important win and a week off before the big dance on September 21.

Mossman-Port Douglas player Yaza Stephen is wrapped up by Innisfail's Fred Koraba and Elia Mooka. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Mossman-Port Douglas player Yaza Stephen is wrapped up by Innisfail's Fred Koraba and Elia Mooka. Photo: Maria Girgenti

Innisfail coach Hallie said he couldn't be prouder of his players, especially how well they fought back.

"It was a great team effort and now we have a week off to assess player injuries and start preparation for the big game between either Mossman or Atherton," Haillie said.

Atherton were able to hold out a determined Yarrabah in the second half to claim a 32-26 victory and will now face Mossman-Port Douglas in the qualifying final this Sunday.

Atherton went out to an early 18-0 lead with tries to James Coyle, Tyson Burchell and Anthony Curcio and extras added by Nigel Woodleigh.

The Seahawks scored two tries in quick succession, their first when Stephen Stafford held onto a wide ball and when Steven Singleton was able to collect and score after a perfectly weighted grubber kick by Stafford.

Roosters went to the half time break with a 18-10 lead and a chance to regain their composure.

Two quick tries to Atherton through Nathan Curcio and Anthony Curcio put them out to a 28-10 lead. 

With 17 minutes left in the game, a Yarrabah player was sent to the bin which made a comeback almost impossible.

However, in true fighting spirit, Yarrabah struck back with a try late in the half which put them right back in the game.

It was a see-sawing affair and a try to Atherton's Pio Seci and another two tries to Yarrabah kept them right back in the game.

With only seconds left on the clock, the high feeling between players unfortunately erupted.

Two Yarrabah players were promptly dispatched for 10, with one player also sent off, and despite Atherton also losing a player to the bin, they were able to hang onto the win and live to fight another day. 

In the Reserve Grade elimination final, Cairns Brothers knocked out Atherton with a 32-28 win.

Mossman-Port Douglas secured a grand final place after they defeated Yarrabah 28-22 in the Reserve Grade qualifying final.

Cairns Brothers also ended Atherton's season in the Under 18 grade elimination final with a dominant 46-24 victory.

Edmonton have secured a grand final spot after a dominant 50-14 win over Ivanhoes in Under 18 qualifying final.

Week 3 - finals - Sunday, September 15  - Barlow Park, Cairns

Under 18

Ivanhoes v Cairns Brothers

Reserve Grade

Yarrabah v Cairns Brothers 

A Grade

3pm Atherton v Mossman-Port Douglas

Main image: Mossman-Port Douglas try scorer Kalani Anau breaks away from the clutches of Innisfail's Lachlan Biondi-Odo and Robert Haren. Photo: Maria Girgenti