A Jonus Pearson try in the corner in the final minutes was not enough to bridge the gap as Redcliffe was outpointed 26-24 by the Northern Pride in the Intrust Super Cup.
In a tense and, at times, heated encounter, the Dolphin Stadium crowd rode a wave of emotion over the course of the game, after the Pride jumped out to a shock 18-0 lead.
Pride flyer Enari Tuala was on fire and had a hat-trick inside 35 minutes, with his second try a wonderful piece of speed, evasion and power from over halfway.
The local Edmonton Storm junior would have done his hopes of progressing through the North Queensland Cowboys ranks little damage in a commanding display.
It wasn’t a great day for kickers however, with Jake Clifford converting just one of six tries for the Cairns-based club, while Kotoni Staggs slotted just two of five attempts.
Staggs had extra reason to grimace, as the Broncos-contracted youngster was marched to the sin-bin in the 59th minute for trying to impede a quick penalty tap by the Pride.
Staggs was also given the unenviable task of taking the final kick at goal after Pearson’s try in the 77th minute, with an on-target effort set to tie the game.
However, he pushed the ball to the left of the uprights on a difficult attempt that was close to the sideline and into a tricky Moreton Bay breeze.
Redcliffe’s comeback in the second half was pockmarked by a series of narrow missed chances, which had supporters gesticulating widely at officials, although the result was hardly their fault.
Cameron Cullen was one player who seemed to respond to the fiery atmosphere and was prominent in several second half assaults on the Pride line.
It was a matter of leaving the run too late however, and the Pride shifted to equal footing on the ladder with their unexpected victory at one of the toughest away venues in the competition.
Significantly, the win for the northerners came directly after the departure of playmaker Todd Carney, a disruption that could have derailed many clubs.
Instead the Pride found some of the attacking gusto that was missing earlier in the season.
NORTHERN PRIDE 26 (Enari Tuala 3, David Murphy, Emry Pere, Brett Anderson tries; Jake Clifford goal)
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 24 (Kotoni Staggs, Scott Schulte, Jeremy Hawkins, Jamil Hopoate, Jonus Pearson tries; Kotoni Staggs 2 goals)