Cutters win maiden Intrust Super Cup title
THE Mackay Cutters have earned themselves a fairytale finish to the season - claiming this year's Intrust Super Cup title with a 27-20 win over a gallant Easts Tigers at North Ipswich Reserve this afternoon.
In a classic game of rugby league where the lead changed several times and the match went right down to the wire it was the Cutters who managed to hold their nerve and go on to claim their first ever Intrust Super Cup title.
The Tigers were the first team on the board when Junior Sau scored following a Tom Butterfield break. Easts had previously thought they had scored the opener but winger Maeli Seve was denied by the video referee after he was ruled to have dropped the ball over the line.
Easts were then able to take their lead out beyond a converted try when Cody Walker kicked a penalty goal.
However, two quick tries from winger Bureta Faraimo sparked a comeback for the Cutters with his second try especially impressive.
After taking a ball out on his wing, he ran hard, fending off two Tigers defenders on his run to the line. The conversion from Taylor was a much better than his first attempt and saw Mackay take the lead for the first time in the match.
It was short-lived however, and while the video referee was again called upon; this time it was awarded when a bomb was allowed to bounce and Salford-bound Sau was on the spot to claim his second.
The Tigers reclaimed the lead with the conversion from Walker giving them a handy 14-10 buffer at halftime.
Easts nearly scored in the opening minute of the second half when centre Shane Neumann crashed over but video referee Tony Maksoud found the Tigers players to be offside and disallowed the try.
Mackay, sparked back into action, hit back through retiring winger David Milne, who accepted a pass from big centre Kalifa Faifai Loa. Taylors conversion missed, leaving the sides deadlocked at 14-14 with just over 30 minutes left to play to decide this years premier.
What followed was a tense and hard-fought contest, with the Tigers going close again through Neumann, before Mackay fullback Liam Taylor was given 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a professional foul.
Feelings were running high around the ground and on the field and every error was proving crucial.
Easts were on the attack, but dropped the ball, allowing Mackays Michael Morgan to scoop it up off the deck and complete an amazing try, putting the ball down just inside the line.
With the Cutters out to a 20-14 lead impressive Tigers prop Mitchell Garbutt took it into his own hands to get his side back on the scoreboard, winding up for a massive run which dragged defenders with him over the line.
The ever-reliable Walker converted the try with scores again level, this time at 20-20 with 11 minutes to go.
With the pressure on and the clock winding down Matt Minto was put in a good position to kick a field goal thanks to a strong run from Jason Taumalolo to put his team ahead. But with seven minutes still left the crowd got the feeling it was not enough.
In the end, it was the Cutters who were able to claim an emotional victory that was fuelled by the memory of their lost team-mate Alex Elisala and it was only fitting to see his good friend and Duncan Hall Medallist Anthony Mitchell run in from dummy half to score the match winning try.
MACKAY CUTTERS 27 (Bureta Faraimo 2, Michael Morgan, David Milne, Anthony Mitchell tries; Liam Taylor, David Milne, Matt Minto goals; Matt Minto field goal) def EASTS TIGERS 20 (Junior Sau 2, Mitchell Garbutt tries; Cody Walker 4 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve
Dunan Hall Medal: Anthony Mitchell (Mackay Cutters)
Halftime Score: Easts Tigers 14 - Mackay Cutters 10