THE CQ Capras started their campaign on the right foot, putting on a stout defensive display in overcoming the Mackay Cutters in trying conditions on the opening night of the 2016 Intrust Super Cup.
The storied rivalry between the two clubs took on an interesting twist this season as the Cutters found themselves up against their former mentor Kim Williams, who took over the reins at the Capras after five years in charge at Mackay. David Simpson on the other hand was eager to put his Cutters team to the test in his first competitive game in charge.
It took mere seconds for the Cutters to get their first opportunity of the night when the opening kick-off bounced off the leg of a Capras player and over the dead-ball line.
Under immediate pressure, the Capras scrambled and were able to deny Mackay’s first attacking raid of the match, but were soon under the pump again as the Cutters were awarded a penalty deep in the red zone.
The Cutters were keen to capitalise on their great field position and they did so with quick passing along their backline which saw Jordan Pereira cross out wide. Liam Taylor converted the try from the sideline and it was 6-0 to Mackay early.
The Capras were lucky not to concede again a few sets later when an errant pass gave the Cutters the ball only 20m from the try line. But the Capras steeled themselves and were just able to deny the home side more points with some gutsy try line defence.
CQ were rewarded for their resolve when Taylor spilled a low-driven kick into the Cutters third of the field, and the Capras went in search of an equalising try. Joshua Mitchell made the Cutters pay for their mistake, scurrying over under the posts from dummy half to hit back for the Capras, with Matt Minto easily adding the extra two points for a 6-all score line.
The visitors were able to make something out of nothing when a brilliant little show-and-go from Maipele Morseu caught the Cutters defence flat footed before running through a gap and dotting down under the posts to put the Capras in front for the first time.
The Capras were eager to keep the momentum rolling into the second half and despite the Cutters best efforts to claw back into the contest; some outstanding team play saw them widen their margin further to the dismay of the home fans.
A simple offload off some hard running saw Morseu drift across the field and fire a flat ball to Brandon Manase who got on the outside of his opposite number and ran into space. From there it was a simple draw and pass play on the fullback that saw Kirisome Kirisome over to score for CQ.
Down but not out, the Cutters were desperate to make a game of it for the hardy fans who had braved the dismal weather.
Despite losing Regan Verney to a knee injury the Cutters chipped away at the Capras and eventually the CQ team cracked when a swirling bomb was dropped cold.
Off the scrum win, the Cutters worked their way across field and a straight running Patrick Mago bashed his way through the Capras defence to give the Cutters some hope.
However, after controlling the game for most of the match, the Capras were able to go on with it, and as the clock counted down; Manese found himself on the end of a round-the-corner pass and streaked away to seal the win.
In a happy return to Mackay, Williams praised the resolve of his Capras side in the victory.
“We made a few mistakes and kept inviting the Cutters back, and as we saw in the trial game they’re a hard team if you keep giving them the ball,” he said.
“But we fought hard and in the end I was really happy to come away with that.”
Cutters coach Dave Simpson was less impressed with his side, but found positives in the performance.
“There wasn’t a lot to like (about the performance). It could’ve been a blowout but it wasn’t, and that’s a credit to the players.
“It shows in the young team that there’s qualities of resilience, and now is my opportunity as a coach to stand up and bring them up to speed to see more positive results in the future.”
The Cutters now head to Cairns to face another of their regional rivals in the Northern Pride, before returning home to BB Print Stadium to face the Easts Tigers in a televised Sunday afternoon game.
CQ CAPRAS 24 (Joshua Mitchell, Maipele Morseu, Kirisome Kirisome, Brandon Manase tries; Matthew Minto 4 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 10 (Jordan Pereira, Patrick Mago tries; Liam Taylor goals) at Stadium Mackay.
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