The QCCS Mackay Cutters signalled their intent for the 2017 season with a dominant performance over the Men of League All Stars at BB Print Stadium on Saturday night.
The Cutters were never troubled in their first hit out of the new season, as a laser-focussed first half blitz paved the way for an easy victory over an All Stars team formed by the best players from around the Mackay region, and captained by ex-NRL star Joel Clinton.
Despite the wealth of experience against them, the Cutters looked more than ready for the occasion as they marched up field and opened the scoring early in the contest when fullback Yamba Bowie began his man of the match performance by diving across in the right corner on the end of a sweeping set play.
The young Cutters halves showed their prowess against their more experienced rivals as they combined to send Nico Hynes into the clear and dotting down beside the posts with a fantastic draw-and-pass that left the All Stars grasping at air, and had the Cutters doubling their lead.
The floodgates were beginning to open as Nathan Saumalu scored for the Cutters off the back of some hot-potato passing to the corner, before Bowie set the game alight with a sensational solo effort. He latched onto a short ball and raced 60m to score, combining blinding pace with agility as he stepped several defenders on the way to his second try of the night.
The All Stars were well and truly under the pump and struggling to match the relentless pace and pressure set by the Cutters pack, and things wouldn’t get easier for them when Jacob Pottinger burst over from dummy half for the Cutters’ fifth try of the night.
Yosepha Kepa then set Bowie up for his third try of the night with a neat wrap-around play to cap off a simply ruthless first half performance from the Mackay Cutters who headed to the sheds with a 32-0 lead.
With the game all but over, the Cutters settled into a relaxed rhythm for much of the second half, but that didn’t stop them from taking advantage of any opportunities the All Stars gave them.
Saumalu bagged his second try of the night as a few wide passes had him on the outside of the stretched All Stars defence and diving over in the corner.
It took until the final quarter of the game, but Loni Lama finally found points for the Men of League All Stars, planting the ball down off a well weighted grubber kick to at least get them on the board.
However, the Cutters consolidated their victory with their eighth try of the night just before the fulltime siren to give them a resounding 42-6 win.