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THE Mackay Cutters burst out of the blocks in front of their home fans at Virgin Australia Stadium to record an upset 26-16 win over the top-of-the-table Northern Pride yesterday.

It was a high-intensity game that lived up to the Rivalry Round hype with the Cutters starting well to hold out an attacking Pride in the opening stages of the game.

A Matt Minto 40-20 kick however quickly turned the tables in favour of the Cutters and they capitalised with winger Bureta Faraimo going in to score the first try of the match.

The Cutters continued to apply the pressure, scoring two more tries to go out to a 16-0 lead with halftime looming.

However, the Pride can never been discounted and when they could keep a hold of the ball they showed why they have been the most dominant team in the competition so far this year.

A fantastic finish from Shaun Nona where he grabbed the ball at his bootstraps and rolled over the line to score saw the margin reduced to 16-4 at halftime.

Despite being an error-riddled match played in the heat of the day it was still vastly entertaining with a number of tries scored which the Channel 9 commentators labelled contenders for try of the year.

The first came following a great run from experienced Pride halfback Sam Obst who evaded a number of Cutters defenders before passing to forward Ben Spina, who worked hard to stay on his feet for long enough to successfully ground the ball.

The next however came straight after and saw Mackay respond in kind with some flashy play of their own.

Some quick balls out to the fringes found Michael Morgan, who linked with Kalifa Faifai Loa.

Faifai Loa then threw a no-look pass back behind him to Morgan who was backing up around his other side to score a great Cutters try.

A simpler front-rowers try to Sam Hoare under the posts put paid to any Pride comeback however, visiting lock Joel Riethmuller scored a consolation try in an impressive solo effort.

MACKAY CUTTERS 26 (Liam Taylor, Bureta Faraimo, Michael Morgan, Sam Hoare, Anthony Mitchell tries; Liam Taylor 2, Kalifa Fai Fai Loa goals) def NORTHERN PRIDE 16 (Shaun Nona, Ben Spina, Joel Riethmuller tries; Kyle Feldt 2 goals) at Virgin Australia Stadium