The Mackay Cutters rediscovered their killer instinct last night with a 28-4 victory over the Norths Devils at Mackay Stadium.
Norths had their work cut out for them, with the Cutters shaping up in the last few weeks, previously defeating one of the top teams in the competition, the PNG Hunters.
Having not won a game since round 12, the Devils were determined to turn their position around, with a win vital to their chances of making it into the finals.
However, it was the Cutters who aimed up best, despite the absence of Cowboys contracted trio Anthony Mitchell, Curtis Rona and John Asiata this week. Replacement players Dan Beasley and Kelvin Nielson stepped up to the plate, playing strong games and wiping away any doubt.
Mackay Cutters coach Kim Williams thought this week's team worked well together.
"It's just a willingness of all our players to work with each other, we've had some new players come into the team and some guys who've been here for a while getting out there and making the most of opportunities,” Williams said.
“I think the key to a successful team is that they are all willing to put in for each other and we are certainly at that point now, and it's been good to watch.”
Less than two minutes into the game, the Cutters set the pace. Halfback Brent Warr easily manoeuvred his way through the Norths defence and despite being tackled over the line was still able to score the first four pointer of the match. Liam Taylor's successful conversion brought the score to 6-0.
Not letting the Cutters run away with the game too early, a strong line of attack from the Devils pushed the Cutters back, allowing Lachlan Maranta to make a break through a gap on the left sideline. Scoring what would be the last try of the first half, the impressive play by the Devils would give them the confidence they needed going in to the second half.
The opening of the second half ran exactly like the first, with the Cutters scoring just two minutes in. Mackay continued to dominate, scoring their second try just five minutes later, followed by their third completed by centre Chris Ulugia after he dived beneath the goal posts.
Another late try from the Cutters, with just a minute left in the game, brought the final score up to 28-4, with Cutters wing Taylor, nailing four out of five conversions.
The Cutters will look to continue their winning streak in round 19 with another home game against the Burleigh Bears.
MACKAY CUTTERS 28 (Chris Ulugia 2, Brent Warr 2, Zac Santo tries; Liam Taylor 4 goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 4 (Lachlan Maranta try) at Stadium Mackay.
Mackay Cutters: 1. Zac Santo 2. Liam Taylor (c) 3. Chris Ulugia 4. Josh Benjamin 5. Justin Tavae 6. Doug Hewitt 7. Brent Warr 18. Dave Petersen 9. Kelvin Nielsen 10. Karl Davies 11. Rohan Ahern 12. Chris Gesch 13. Jason Schirnack 14. Dan Murphy 15. Dan Beasley 16. Josh Osborne 17. Mitch Day
Norths Devils: 1. Adrian Henley 2. Michael Lucas 3. BJ Munns 4. Tristan Lumley 5. Keiran English 6. Todd Murphy 7. Darren Nicholls 8. Jamie Muller 9. Krys Freeman 10. Troyden Watene 11. Chris Faust 12. Brendon Gibb (c) 13. James Sharkie 14. Sam Foster 16. Mark Vaiao 17. Jai Ingram 15. Lachlan Maranta