The Mackay Cutters have overcome a fast-starting Souths Logan to record a 24-22 victory at Stadium Mackay on Saturday.
Mackay fans braved the cold, determined to see their side start strong after a tough loss to the Bears last week. However it was Souths Logan with all the running early.
Hooker Mitch Cronin opened the scoring for the visitors, taking advantage of a sluggish Mackay defence with a run from dummy half. Soon after, Jordan Rapana sliced through the defence to score again, before Luke Bateman carried Cutters hooker Anthony Mitchell with him over the line to put the Magpies up 16-0 after only 15 minutes.
Mackay needed a spark and they found it with Liam Taylor. An impressive cut-out pass from Zac Santo found the winger in space, who strolled over in the right corner to put first points on the board for the home side.
Ten minutes later, the Cutters shifted the ball to centre Chris Ulugia, who stepped around two defenders before landing a backwards flick pass on Taylor’s chest to send the number two over for his second try.
With Souths now on the backfoot, Mackay capitalised with quick-fire tries to Ulugia and Justin Tavae to send the home side into the half time break with an unlikely 22-16 lead.
The second half was nothing like the first, with both sides ramping up the defensive pressure.
Mackay’s greatest scoring opportunity came midway through the half, with Taylor unable to handle a well-placed Brent Warr grubber behind the Magpies’ defensive line.
Sloppy handling in attack continued to let the Magpies down, with multiple promising sets breaking down near the try line.
With 10 minutes remaining, an errant hand in the ruck saw the Cutters awarded a penalty in the middle of the field. Choosing to take the kick, man of the match Taylor calmly added the extras for an eight point advantage that would prove to be the difference.
A second try to Bateman six minutes from full time put the visitors within striking distance, however with the final seconds counting down a Ben Jackson chip behind the Cutters’ line was grounded by Taylor, ending Souths’ hopes of back-to-back away victories.
For Mackay, Liam Taylor was an obvious standout in attack, while also strong under the high ball.
Souths fullback Jordan Rapana looked dangerous all night, however he had little support for much of the second half as the Magpies struggled to complete their sets.
Next Sunday the Cutters travel to Redcliffe to take on the Dolphins, while the Magpies tackle the Devils at home, also on Sunday.
MACKAY CUTTERS 24 (Liam Taylor 2, Chris Ulugia, Justin Tavae tries; Liam Taylor 4 goals) def SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 22 (Luke Bateman 2, Jordan Rapana, Mitch Cronin tries; Jordan Rapana 3 goals) at Stadium Mackay.
Mackay Cutters: 1. Zac Santo 2. Liam Taylor (c) 3. Chris Ulugia 4. Curtis Rona 5. Justin Tavae 6. Dan Murphy 7. Brent Warr 8. Dan Beasley 9. Anthony Mitchell 10. Karl Davies 11. Kelvin Nielsen 12. Chris Gesch 13. Rohan Ahern 14. Doug Hewitt 15. Aleki Falepaini 16. Josh Osborne 17. Mitch Day
Souths Logan Magpies: 1. Jordan Rapana 2. Ramon Filipine 3. Grant Cooke 4. Tim Brooks 5. Luke Archer 6. Phil Dennis (c) 7. Ben Jackson 8. Luke Page 9. Mitch Cronin 10. Andrew Edwards 12. Patrick Mago 13. Luke Bateman 14. Jake Eden 15. Rez Phillips 16. Zac Lemberg 17. Darcy Wright 18. Dallas Anderson