The Mackay Cutters defied a committed opponent and sizzling temperatures to surge late and record a stunning 34-28 ANZAC Day victory over the Central Queensland Capras.
After a sluggish start to their Intrust Super Cup premiership defence, the Cutters are now back in a big way after clinching back-to-back wins with a superb effort in Rockhampton on Friday night.
Inspired by the return of key playmaker Brent Crisp from a long injury lay-off, the Capras made the early running and shot out to an 8-0 lead following tries to exciting outside backs Marlon Doak and Marco Delapena.
With a vocal home crowd behind the Capras, it all pointed to a tough afternoon for the visiting Mackay players.
But they responded in style with a touch down to Sam Hoare followed by two more unanswered converted tries to take an unlikely 18-8 lead into half-time.
The early stages of the second half belonged to the Capras though, with a long range effort from former Titan Smith Samau and further tries to Reece Baker and Mark Johnstone putting the home team in the lead 26-18.
But the round nine match started to get even more interesting inside the final 12 minutes of play when the Cutters hit back to close the gap to 26-22
With more errors starting to creep into the game, Central steadied the ship when the accurate boot of Crisp extended their advantage to 28-22 via a penalty goal.
As both teams tired in defence, more and more chances were created and it was the Cutters who landed the knock-out blow with two incredible tries under pressure.
Winger Liam Taylor was in the thick of the drama in the enthralling finish, knocking over the sideline conversion to level the score at 28-28 before scoring the match-winning try himself after a clever short side raid.
MACKAY CUTTERS 34 (Zac Santo, Liam Taylor, Tyson Martin, Brent Warr, Sam Hoare, Chris Gesch tries; Liam Taylor 5 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 28 (Reece Baker, Marlon Doak, Marco Delapena, Smith Samau, Mark Johnstone tries; Brent Crisp 4 goals) at Browne Park.
CQ Capras: 1. Reece Baker 2. Marlon Doak 3. Marco Delapena 4. Smith Samau 5. Rhys Williams 6. Mark Johnstone 7. Duncan Paia’Aua 8. Arlin Paki 18. Brent Crisp 10. Peter Gallen 11. Mitch Zornig 12. Guy Williams 13. Gavin Hiscox (c) 14. Theeran Pearson 16. John Clayton 17. Matt Mizzi 21. Andrew Dale
Mackay Cutters: 1. Zac Santo 2. Liam Taylor 3. Tyson Martin 4. Josh Benjamin 5. James Uhatafe 6. Brent Warr 8. Sam Hoare 19. Rohan Ahern 10. Karl Davies 11. John Asiata 12. Chris Gesch 13. Dan Beasly 14. Aleki Falepaini 15. Ryan Kinlyside 16. Kelvin Nielsen 17. Mitch Day 18. Dave Petersen