The QCCS Mackay Cutters snatched a thrilling last-second victory over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in a bruising encounter at BB Print Stadium last night.
Both teams showcased their physicality in defence for much of the contest, but it was Mackay’s determination in attack that ultimately paved the way for their 20-14 victory.
The Cutters were presented with an early attacking opportunity after the Seagulls conceded a penalty, and they made the visitors pay as a great cut-out pass found the chest of Nicho Hynes to give the home team the lead.
Mackay’s next try was a little more unconventional as they achieved the rare feat of winning the ball against the feed with a big push in the scrum, attaining possession of the football deep in attacking territory and spreading it wide to Yamba Bowie who crossed in the corner to double their lead.
The Seagulls managed to turn the tide of momentum briefly and get themselves back in the contest with a beautiful play down the short side, with a perfectly weighted chip kick finding the arms of a flying Daniel Ogden who touched down to bring the visitors within striking distance.
But Mackay made sure they held the ascendancy going into the second half as Bowie bagged his second try right on the stroke of halftime as some hot-potato passing got him around the Seagulls defence and scoring out wide to send the home team to the sheds leading 12-6.
The second half saw attacking chances dry up for both sides as open attack gave way to physical defence as the forward packs set about their tasks.
Mackay were limited to a penalty goal to open the scoring for the second stanza, pushing their lead out to eight points.
The Seagulls continued to press and consistently found themselves poking their noses through on the Mackay flanks as the hosts desperately tried to hold firm.
But with the Cutters fatiguing, the Seagulls eventually struck, with Mitch Cronin strolling through untouched on some tired Mackay defence to leave his team trailing by two.
Then, with just under 10 minutes to go, the Cutters conceded a penalty deep in their own half, and with an invitation too good to refuse, Wynnum Manly duly slotted the penalty goal to level the scores and set up a frantic final few minutes.
With last week’s inexplicable loss still fresh in their minds, Mackay dug deep for one final effort as the clock bled down to the dying seconds; and as the Cutters bombarded the withering Seagulls defensive line.
Braden Uele seized his moment and steamed onto an offload that saw him burst into open space and score beside the posts to win the game for the Cutters, leaving his exhausted opponents strewn across the park in his wake.
MACKAY CUTTERS 20 (Yamba Bowie 2, Nicho Hynes, Braden Uele tries; Nicho Hynes 2 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 14 (Daniel Ogden, Mitch Cronin tries; Mathew Seamark 3 goals) at BB Print Stadium, Mackay.