The Intrust Super Cup minor premiership is just about secure for the Northern Pride who extended their lead at the top of the ladder with a gutsy 22-18 win against fellow high-fliers Tweed Heads Seagulls at Barlow Park on Sunday.
The Cairns-based club now lead the competition by seven points with four rounds remaining and they can seal top spot by beating Souths Logan in Mareeba on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Pride shot out to an 18-6 half-time lead but were rocked by first-half game-ending injuries to Alex Starmer (ankle), Javid Bowen (ribs), and Ben Jeffries (arm).
But the 14 men left standing managed to bring an end to Tweed Heads' impressive 12-game Intrust Super Cup streak.
The Pride made the perfect start with two tries in the opening nine minutes.
It was young fullback Linc Port, playing only his second Pride game due to Hezron Murgha's hamstring injury, who opened the scoring.
Davin Crampton then showed his brute strength as he muscled his way over, again on the left edge, to put Pride in the driving seat.
However the tide started to turn on 14 minutes when prop Starmer was taken off.
Tweed Heads broke through four minutes later as interchange player Ayden Lee powered through a gap to reduce the arrears to 12-6.
But the Pride are made of stern stuff and hit back immediately as halfback Sam Obst produced a darting, mazy run from 10m to extend the Pride's advantage.
Unfortunately for the hosts the injuries kept coming as Bowen and then interchange debutant Jeffries were both forced from the field before half time.
On 54 minutes, the Pride looked to have put the game to bed as Crampton scored his second with a 60m intercept try to push the hosts' lead out to 22-6.
However, tries from Seagulls back-rower Cory Blair and prop Damian Sironen set up a showdown finish.
Centre James Wood, who was dangerous all afternoon, twice went close for the Seagulls in the dying minutes.
Meanwhile, the Mackay Cutters’ time as Intrust Super Cup premiers is all but over after they capitulated against the Ipswich Jets on Saturday night.
After being level at 10-all early in the second half following a try to Cowboys contracted forward John Asiata, the Cutters conceded 52 points in just over half an hour of football to lose 62-10 and drop eight points adrift of the top five.
The Jets’ stunning points blitz saw them score five tries in six sets of six.
NORTHERN PRIDE 22 (Davin Crampton 2, Lincoln Port, Sam Obst tries; Shaun Nona 3 goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 18 (Damian Sironen, Cory Blair, Ayden Lee tries; Jamal Fogarty 3 goals) at Barlow Park.
IPSWICH JETS 62 (Carlin Anderson 3, Marmin Barba 2, Nemani Valekapa, Brendon Marshall, Josh Cleeland, Dane Phillips, Billy McConnachie, Matt Parcell tries; Marmin Barba 8, Wes Conlon goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 10 (Curtis Rona, John Asiata tries; Liam Taylor goal) at North Ipswich Reserve.