Young Hawks to learn from defeat
The blood dripping down Clinton Gribble's face told the story of Manunda's 16.3(99) to 17.10(112) loss to North Cairns on Friday night.
Nose busted and modelling career suddenly questionable, the Hawks player-coach was nonetheless the proudest man at Cazalys Stadium.
"I don't think they've been pushed like that all year," Gribble said of the ladder leaders.
"So it may have come as a bit of a shock to them but I'm pretty proud of the boys. "Even thought we didn't get the four points there were plenty of positives to take out th the game and plenty to work on for the rest of the year."
Manunda paid for a slow opening half that allowed the Tigers to pounce to a 33-point lead at the main break.
The Hawks fought hard and captured the lead in the third quarter but could not contain the classy Tigers for long enough. Led by strong performances from Mitchell Exton and Dustin Mills, North Cairns did just enough to stay ahead of the Hawks.
"We were a little bit off where they were at," Gribble said. "It's got to be one of our best performances all year.
"We had a lot of players our and the young fellas, they really gave the game a good go. "I just said to them at the start of the game if you wanted it more than they wanted it, then you would be able to match it with them.
"It doesn't matter who's in the side, it only matters how much you want it and how much it burns to win the match of footy."
Determination could not get the Hawks home on Friday night but their coach said it would serve them will in the future.
"We've got a lot of kids and not now but in the future this club is going to be in a really strong position," he said.
"We've got a lot of talent here and I think they showed what they are capable of tonight."