Lions send Hawks into survival spin
A valiant final-quarter comeback was not enough for the Manunda Hawks, who now face the prospect of missing the AFL Cairns finals after a four-point loss to Cairns City Lions.
The Lions were flogged by more than 200 points last weekend, but rebounded spectacularly to win at Cazalys 16.8(104) to 14.16(100).
It was the Lions' second win of the season, the first under new player-coach Marc Harbrow, and it pushed last year's runner-up back to fifth spot.
The battle for fourth will continue to rage, though, as three teams - Hawks, Cutters and Bulldogs - have four wins and Souths are only ahead thanks to an extra bye.
Lions captain Tom Nichols, who booted three goals to be one of his side's best, said it was a well-deserved win despite Manunda coming home strongly at the end.
"There was a decent breeze, but we managed to hold on," he said. "Our second quarter won it for us; we outscored them into the breeze."We played very well."
Only one-point seperated the teams at quarter time, but the Lions shot ahead with four second-term majors to prove that it is not impossible to be constructive kicking south at Cazalys.
They extended that lead to exactly 50 points at three-quarter time befor the Hawks rallied.
Tasmanian pick-up Nichols was one of the club's prized recruits this season, but injury and work committments have restricted him to eight games.
He said despite the abrupt departure of former coach Jason Roe, the team was still functioning well. "The mood is good, things are good at the club. I'll be back next season and most of the boys will be too," he said.
"It's hopefully exciting times for us."
He will be keen for Adam Gross and Toby Fatnowna to stick around after both had strong games again and kicked eight goals between them.
Hawk Tim Churchin booted six, while Lincoln Withers could not inspire a victory at home.