Photo courtesy of Mackay Cutters Facebook page
Round 11 of the Intrust Super Cup brought an important game to Mackay Stadium with the Mackay Cutters going head to head with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
The first half went off with a bang when just seven minutes into the game the Falcons were able to break through the Cutters defence. But Mackay scrambled to prevent the ball from touching the ground under the posts.
The Falcons continued to show an urgency that paid off, as hooker Brenton Stonier darted through a gap in the Cutters defence, scoring the first four pointer of the game out of dummy half. Ryan Hansen successfully converted the try for a 6-0 lead.
Some impressive ball handling on the Cutters right side of attack led to their first try of the game with 20 minutes left to the first half. Liam Taylor was able to smash through from close range on the right sideline, but could not bring the score up to match the Falcons with an unsuccessful conversion.
Minutes later Chris Ulugia forced his way through the Falcons defence, scoring on the left side of the try line. Taylor's conversion brought the score up to 10-6, a lead that would give Mackay the confidence they needed after a shaky start.
Another impressive play by Cutters second-rower Mitch Day left the scoreboard at 16-6 going into half time.
The second half brought a lot of fire to the field, with strong tackles and some slick passes making for an entertaining game, but not affecting the scoreboard. The Cutters finally made it over the line with 15 minutes left through Zac Santo, only for the try to be disallowed.
This error was made up for just moments later though by Cutters front-rower Sam Hoare as he dived through the Falcons defence. Taylor's successful conversion pushed the score out to 22-6.
Proving their ability to fight until the very end, the Falcons managed to gain some points in the final three minutes, an outstanding finish to a well played game. The last minute points could not close the gap however, with the Cutters leaving the field victorious 22-12.
Mackay Cutters coach Kim Williams was happy with the win, but made it clear there were some areas for improvement.
"We had a good result, but I'm not overly happy with our performance,” Williams said.
“I think we made it a lot harder on ourselves than it should have been. They (Sunshine Coast Falcons) are definitely not a team to underestimate.”
Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Ivan Henjak had a similar response when asked about his team's performance.
"Our effort was good, we competed right to the end. There are some discipline issues there in terms of penalties and dropped balls, if we can fix those up and compete with the effort that we did, we could be close to getting a win," he said.
MACKAY CUTTERS 22 (Liam Taylor, Josh Benjamin, Sam Hoare, Mitch Day tries; Liam Taylor 3 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 12 (Brenton Stonier, Rueben Baillie tries; Ryan Hansen 2 goals) at Stadium Mackay.
Mackay Cutters: 1. Zac Santo 2. Liam Taylor 3. Niko Mataia 4. Tyson Martin (c) 5. Josh Benjamin 6. Brent Warr 7. Tom Rouse 8. Sam Hoare 10. Karl Davies 11. John Asiata 12. Chris Gesch 20. Ryan Kinlyside 14. Doug Hewitt 15. Chris Ulugia 16. Kelvin Nielsen 17. Mitch Day 18. Dave Petersen
Sunshine Coast Falcons: 1. Callum Klein 2. Joe Meninga 3. Rowan Klein 4. Paul McKewin 5. Kyle Van Klaveren 6. Brett Doherty 7. Jay Lobwein 8. Mboya Adams 9. Brenton Stonier 10. Ryan Hansen (c) 11. Shae Ah Fook 12. Jacob Samoa 13. Rueben Baillie 14. Matt Gilliman 15. Nathan Young 16. Thomas Murphy 17. Brad Reed