Second half surge sees Tigers beat Cutters
by Matt Crowhust
The Easts Tigers posted an important win in front of their home fans on Sunday, claiming a 30-16 victory over the Mackay Cutters.
While the final score reflected that it was the Tigers’ game; it did was not a true reflection of the Cutters effort. They never gave up, scoring in the 71st minute and were attacking the Tigers right to the final whistle, with only magnificent defence keeping them at bay.
The Tigers forwards were dominant in the opening exchanges, with Jake Foster and captain Dane Hogan particularly strong. Hogan was in everything as he repeatedly ran hard and fast at the Cutters right edge. At one point, the Tigers surged 100m down field including a decisive break from Hogan down the grandstand touch line.
It took eight minutes for the Tigers to unlock the Cutters defence and when it happened it was Tigers football at its best, with forwards and backs linking together. Foisa Peni stayed alive in a tackle and offloaded to Tom Butterfield who passed to Isaac Kaufmann. The ball hardly touched Kaufmann’s hands as caught and passed to Foster in the blink of an eye. Foster ran smartly to his left and threw a lovely cut-out pass to put Maeli Seve over in front of the scoreboard.
The Cutters attempted to strike straight back with the dangerous Sam Clune running left to right across a number of times as he probed the Tigers defence for any weakness. However there was no weakness to be found and the Tigers were the next to score when Foster went over under the posts in the 17th minute. However, this try was all Eddie Tautali, who continued his rich vein of form from recent weeks. He took the ball 40m out and on the back foot and beat what should have been a simple one on one tackle with a lovely fend and streaked 20m before linking with Foster.
Mackay got on the board in the 23rd minute when Liam Taylor took the ball in two hands and ran to the defence before slipping a lovely pass to a hard-running Tyson Martin who crashed over between two defenders. Taylor then stepped up to land the conversion and bring the score back to 10-6.
The Cutters then went back-to-back when Taylor scored and converted his own try to give his side a 12-10 lead for the first time in the game.
With two minutes on the clock until the break, a key moment of the half occurred when Kaufmann stepped up and showed the benefit of his years of experience. He hoisted a perfectly positioned bomb that came down only a metre out from the Cutters line. Justin Tavae took the kick perfectly, but Hogan was on hand to ensure he would end up in goal.
From the ensuing set of six Francis Tualau loomed up on Butterfield’s right to take a short pass from his dummy half and crash over. Malone slotted the conversion and the Tigers took a 16-12 lead to the break, which was probably a fair reflection of a half that the Tigers dominated for at least 60% of the time.
The second half however was all Tigers. Brentt Warr set the tone in only the second minute when he embarked on a jinking, stepping run to his right that left the defence in tatters. Just when it seemed he must be caught; he slipped an audacious basketball pass to Matt Duffie to crash over in the car park corner.
That set up the momentum of the game with the Tigers crossing twice more to seal the match. The Cutters posted a consolation try thanks to Brad Lupi, but it was not enough to prevent the Tigers from earning their eighth win of the season.
EASTS TIGERS 30 (Maeli Seve 2, Eddie Tautali, Matt Duffie, Jake Foster, Francis Tualau tries; Donald Malone 3 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 16 (Liam Taylor, Brad Lupi, Tyson Martin tries; Liam Taylor 2 goals) at Tapout Energy Stadium, Langlands Park.
Easts Tigers: 1. Donald Malone 2. Maeli Seve 3. Eddie Tautali 4. Michael Kai 5. Matt Duffie 6. Isaac Kaufmann 7. - 8. Foisa Peni 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Liam McDonald 11. Dane Hogan (c) 12. Jake Foster 13. Troy Giess 14. Francis Tualau 15. Matthew Zgrajewski 16. Dean Britt 17. Billy Walters 19. Brentt Warr
Mackay Cutters: 1. Sam Clune 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Ben Jones 4. Justin Tavae 5. Zack Walker 6. Cameron Cullen 7. Liam Taylor 8. Brad Lupi 10. Ryan Kinlyside 20. Mitch Day 11. Brenden Treston 12. Tyson Martin 13. Chris Gesch (c) 15. Aleki Falepaini 14. Buchanan Rawhiti 17. Coen Hess 18. Joss Boyton