Defeat doesn't reflect efforts of rest of season.
It was a gutting result that could keep Manunda out of the AFL Cairns semi-finals, but Saturday's loss to North Cairns is not the reason they teeter outside the league's top four.
That is how a disappointing Hawks unit are looking at the situation, following a 10.22 (82) to 11.7 (73) defeat at Cazalys on Saturday, when they led at the end of the first and second quarters.
As it stands, Souths sit one win clear heading into this weekend's final round and importantly, they hold the aces, considering their percentage is marginally (80.74 to 77.17) superior.
They meet this weekend and it will take a hefty win for the Hawks to jump the Cutters into fourth spot.
While disappointed, captain Fred Pittorino said it was unfair to pin a season on one result, particularly when they had played so well.
"It's a nine-point loss to the best team in the competition," the forward pocket said. "But we lost to Lions, Cutters and Centrals in the middle round, so you'd have to say that's what has put us in this position.
"We've been playing well lately - got close to Norths the last two times and almost beat Port. We've had a good team together and you'd have to say if we had that consistency earlier in the year (Hawks would be a top-four side)."
The captain said they would not crunch the numbers to find out the scenario before next weekend.
"I think you lose your way if you start trying to win by a certain margin," he said. "We just want to win the game. At least then if we still don't make it in, we can say we've beaten the team that finished fourth."
On a windy day at Cazalys, it was strange to see Manunda kick three goals into the gale and take a five-point , quarter-time lead. And it was stranger again to see Norths kick 3.3 to win the next quarter, despite having to contend with the conditions.
"Sometimes you get caught in the trap of bombing it in and expecting to score, and unfortunatly we did that in the second quarter after starting so well," Pittorino said.
"We were a bit frustrated after the game beacuse we thought we didn't do a few things we had spoken about, and that was one of them."
North Cairns, who had lost to Souths in the season's biggest upset last weekend, found their feet in the third but could not exploit that on the scoreboard.
They kicked four goals and 12 behinds for the stanza as the Hawks were camped in their back 50m and unable to clear it.
The Tigers' inaccuracy kept Manunda in the contest, but they could not quite make up the margin in the final term.
In-form ruck forward James Spencer was again a handy target for the Hawks, finishing with three goals. And the ever-reliable Adam Mueller was solid for the Tigers, taking home best-on-ground honours.