The Mackay Cutters gave their top five prospects a huge lift following a crucial victory over the Redcliffe Dolphins at Stadium Mackay last night.
Following a fiery game that ended in a 22-12 win for Mackay, last year's premiers now have some much needed confidence heading into the middle stages of the Intrust Super Cup season.
Mackay set up the victory with a powerful first half which netted 14 unanswered points.
"They were on a roll in the first half, and we couldn't really stop them," said Dolphins coach Troy Lindsay.
Thirsty for some points, the Cutters scored the first try of the game after an impressive play by fullback Justin Tavae resulted in him breaking through the Dolphins right side of defence.
A mere 15 minutes later the Cutters showed no signs of slowing down, making excellent ground and easily firing through the Dolphins front line.
Making a break along the left sideline, front rower and XXXX man of the match Jason Schirnack laid down the second try of the game. With the first quarter of the match having elapsed, the scoreboard stood at 8-0 after two unsuccessful conversions by second rower John Asiata.
Again slipping through the holes in the Dolphins left side of defence, winger Zac Santo was able to make a break 30 metres out from the try line, easily laying down the try that would leave the Cutters with a comfortable lead coming into half time. A successful conversion by Asiata left the score at 14-0.
Powering into the second half, the Dolphins were finally able to gain some momentum, with their line of attack growing solid and forcing the Cutters to lift their game despite their lead. With 28 minutes left in the second half, Redcliffe's Stewart Mills crossed the try line but was held up leaving the scoreboard unchanged.
Not letting their rocky start affect them however, the Dolphins displayed some of the fight and skill that has put them in their top five position. Making use of the mere quarter of the game that was left, Redcliffe forced the Cutters’ defence back with a break made by front rower David Hala, resulting in the visiting team’s first four pointer of the match.
The Cutters, determined not to let their opposition take the lead, used their aggressive line of attack to their advantage with Mackay scoring their first try of the second half after centre James Uhatafe darted over. The Cutters’ final try of the match, scored by winger Santo, occurred next with only seven minutes left in the game.
Redcliffe winger Liam Georgetown scored a late try for the Dolphins, but it was the Cutters who were celebrating after the siren.
"The Easter bunny has come a day early," said Cutters coach Kim Williams.
"I thought we were pretty dominant from the beginning of the game.
"It's definitely a big step in the right direction."
MACKAY CUTTERS 22 (Justin Tavae, Zac Santo, James Uhatafe, Chris Ulugia, Jason Schirnack tries; John Asiata goal) def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 12 (Liam Georgetown, David Hala tries; Adrian Davis, Tyson Cleal goals) at Stadium Mackay.
Mackay Cutters: 1. Justin Tavae 2. Zac Santo 3. Tyson Martin (c) 4. James Uhatafe 5. Chris Ulugia 6. Brent Warr 7. Tom Rouse 8. Sam Hoare 9. Anthony Mitchell 10. Jason Schirnack 11. John Asiata 12. Chris Gesch 13. Kelvin Nielsen 14. Aleki Falepaini 15. Ryan Kinlyside 16. Karl Davies 17. Mitch Day 19. Rohan Ahern
Redcliffe Dolphins: 21. Stewart Mills 2. Paul Byrnes 3. Aaron Whitchurch 4. Marty Hatfield (c) 5. Liam Georgetown 6. Zach Strasser 7. Adrian Davis 8. Tyson Cleal 9. Tom Rowles 10. David Hala 11. Sarafu Fatiaki 12. Joe Bradley 13. Tom Geraghty 14. Tui Samoa 15. Jared Cherry 16. Martin Cordwell 17. Harley Aiono