A 78th minute field goal from the returning Liam Taylor lifted the Mackay Cutters to a thrilling 13-12 victory over the Norths Devils at Stadium Mackay last night.
Taylor’s composed strike under pressure broke the lengthy 12-12 deadlock and clinched a fourth-straight Intrust Super Cup win for the Cutters.
The match was Taylor’s first in the top grade this year due to injury. The 2013 Mackay premiership-winning fullback was injected into the game at five-eighth for the final 25 minutes.
It proved to be a tense finish, with both sides trading unsuccessful field goal attempts before Taylor’s match-winner.
The Devils nearly pinched the game themselves in the 74th minute, but their own shot at field goal was only just off target.
In the first half, the Devils made all the running with Luke Pollock and Todd Lowrie posting tries and Darren Nicholls adding the extras for a 12-0 lead.
With Queensland Under 20s forward Fancis Molo leading the charge, the Devils were right on top.
Cutters coach Kim Williams conceded the Cutters were the better team in the early exchanges.
“We expected them to bounce back … and we pretty much got what we expected,” Williams said.
“Their forward pack was really aggressive early on.”
After weathering the early storm, the Cutters hit back with two tries from classy fullback Sam Clune, who would later be named as Mackay’s man of the match.
Clune has been outstanding in the opening five rounds, and Williams believes he wouldn’t be out of place in a Queensland Residents jersey.
Much to Williams’ delight, the Cutters kept Norths scoreless for the final three quarters of the match.
Early in the second half, Mackay levelled the score at 12-12 after a try to the impressive Justin Tavae.
But with the Cutters missing a third-straight conversion attempt, the match was set up for a grandstand finish.
Mackay will play the Central Queensland Capras next weekend, while the Norths Devils are at home to the Ipswich Jets.
MACKAY CUTTERS 13 (Sam Clune 2, Justin Tavae tries; Liam Taylor field goal) def NORTHS DEVILS 12 (Luke Pollock, Todd Lowrie tries; Darren Nicholls 2 goals) at Stadium Mackay.
Mackay Cutters: 1 Sam Clune 2 Jordan Pereira 3 Mitch Day 4 Justin Tavae 5 Buchanan Rawhiti 6 Cameron Cullen 7 Liam Taylor 8 Sam Hoare 14 Michael Sio 10 Brad Lupi 11 Tyson Martin 12 Kelvin Nielsen 13 Chris Gesch 15 Aleki Falepaini 16 Josh Chudleigh 17 Josh Osborne 18 Justin O'Neill
Norths Devils: 1 Luke Pollock 2 Reece Baker 3 Steve Eliott 4 Kainga Turner 5 Rogan Dean 6 Sam Foster 7 Darren Nicholls 8 Richard Tuala 9 Krys Freeman 10 Francis Molo 11 Rhett Webster 12 Brett Greinke 13 Todd Lowrie 14 Byron Creighton 15 Max Seumanutafa 16 Matt Mizzi 17 Josh Afoa