A grinding 12-4 victory over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in wet conditions has provided the Mackay Cutters with the platform to launch their 2014 Intrust Super Cup premiership defence.
After opening the season with losses to the Easts Tigers and Papua New Guinea Hunters, the Cutters entered Saturday night’s clash against the Seagulls under pressure to perform.
A heavy surface greeted the players at Mackay Stadium, but it was the Cutters who trudged through the mud better to see off the visitors by eight points.
The first half was a genuine struggle through the middle, with 34 minutes elapsing before Cutters forward Chris Gesch opened the scoring.
Liam Taylor added the extras for a 6-0 lead at half-time.
Although guilty of making their fair share off handling errors in the opening 40 minutes, Taylor said the Cutters were confident of going on with the job in the second half.
“Our completion rate was at 50 per cent, so we knew we could improve in that area,” the Cutters fullback said.
Taylor praised the efforts of returning outside backs Curtis Rona and Zac Santo, who both had some nice touches in the heavy going.
Seagulls hooker Jake Granville got his team on the board early in the second half, but that was their last moment of joy.
A Dave Petersen try and second goal from Taylor midway through the second stanza settled the Cutters, who continually repelled the surging Wynnum attack.
“He (coach Kim Williams) just praised our effort and defence,” Taylor said.
“That’s what got us over the line in the end.”
The match saw experienced halfback Matt Seamark return from injury for the Seagulls, who will look to hit back at home against the Burleigh Bears next weekend.
Mackay will travel to the south east to play the Norths Devils in next Sunday’s Channel 9 match at Bishop Park.
MACKAY CUTTERS 12 (Chris Gesch, Dave Petersen tries; Liam Taylor 2 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 4 (Jake Granville try) at Stadium Mackay.