Cutters march into Intrust Super Cup grand final
The Mackay Cutters are fast making a habit of proving their critics wrong.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that many Intrust Super Cup followers were predicting an early exit from the premiership race in the wake of their 31-18 loss to the Easts Tigers in week one of the finals.
But with their season on the line the following week, the Cutters responded with a stirring win over the Ipswich Jets to book a preliminary final showdown against the minor premiership-winning Northern Pride at Langlands Park.
The Cutters were again outsiders in todays match, but they fed off the underdog tag in a gritty 80 minute display to stun the Pride.
The memorable 20-6 win elevated the Cutters into their first Intrust Super Cup grand final.
The Kim Williams-coached team will now confront the Easts Tigers at the North Ipswich Reserve next Sunday.
The star-studded Tigers will start favourites but you get the feeling it wont bother Williams or his players one bit.
The Cutters went about their business with a minimum of fuss today, grinding down the Pride in a physical encounter.
There were moments of brilliance along the way, but for the most part it was a workmanlike performance where all 17 players did their job.
The Cutters struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 25 minutes as the Pride made the early running with a simple shift to the left providing the space for Semi Tadulala to open the scoring.
Pride five-eighth Shaun Nona converted for a 6-0 lead.
But the Pride failed to trouble the scorers again as the Cutters gradually took control.
Their push for victory was kick-started by a superb try from Liam Taylor, who combined wonderfully with Kalifa FaiFai Loa.
The Cutters then took a 10-6 lead into half-time when winger Bureta Faraimo latched onto a Matt Minto cross kick.
Little went right for the Pride in the second half, with a disallowed try shortly upon the resumption of play summing up their frustrating afternoon.
Mackay did all of the little things right and continually built pressure, wrapping up the win with second-half tries from FaiFai Loa and Jason Taumalolo.
Giant Cowboys enforce Taumalolo received the XXXX man of the match award and looms a as a major trump card for the Cutters in next weekends grand final.
MACKAY CUTTERS 20 (Liam Taylor, Bureta Faraimo, Kalifa Fai Fai Loa, Jason Taumalolo tries; Liam Taylor 2 goals) def NORTHERN PRIDE 6 (Semi Tadulala try; Shaun Nona goal) at Langlands Park.