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Cutters charge in second half to down Gulls

Mackay Cutters gave the Tweed Seagulls a lesson in basic fundamentals and patience in springing a 30-16 upset victory at Piggabeen Sports Complex today.

Played in front of a healty crowd who had gathered for the Seagulls Old Boys Day, the home side were their own worst enemy in the second half; conceding a 12-6 halftime lead early to a spirited Mackay side.

Mackay Cutters gave the Tweed Seagulls a lesson in basic fundamentals and patience in springing their upset win.

The Cutters had all the momentum and dominated possession and position in the last 50 minutes.

It was a costly loss for the Seagulls, who could have skipped six points clear of ninth-placed Ipswich Jets, after they went down to Norths Devils in the first week of the split round.

Now, they have a crucial encounter with the Jets next round while the Cutters have put themselves into finals contention, particularly if eighth-placed Redcliffe (two competition points ahead of the Cutters) go down to second-placed Burleigh Bears next weekend.

The Cutters virtually starved the Seagulls out of the match after scoring their first try four minutes before halftime.

Led by a smart kicking game by halfback Sam Cook, and aggressive second-half forward-control led by prop Alex Gerrard, the Cutters scored three tries in the space of 13 minutes either side of the break to turn the game on its head.

It took 30 minutes, when Broncos-contracted winger Xavier Coates regained possession from a short kick-off, before Tweed played the ball in the Cutters’ 20-metre zone in the second half.

Until penalties and errors ruined any chance of mounting pressure and swinging momentum.

“Lack of possession in the second half killed us really,” Seagulls coach Ben Woolf said after the game.

“In the first 10 minutes of the second half, we touched the ball twice and made errors both times.

“They went seven sets without an error which fatigued us and we couldn’t wrestle possession back.

“Our ruck became a bit loose defensively and they rolled through us and we couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole unfortunately.

“They did a good job controlling the ball, their kicking game was really good and they had a plan around that and their kick-chase was really good.”

Kody Parsons, who has impressed in his two games since moving from the centres to second row, initiated the scoring when he shook off two defenders from close range off a Luke Jurd pass. Lindon McGrady converted for a 6-0 lead after 13 minutes.

After the home side had defended their line for an extended period, Ash Taylor inflicted his class into the clash in the 29th minute when he put Ioane Seiuli through the line with a clever no-look short pass and Seiuli found McGrady backing up with two others for a good try that started in Seagulls’ territory. McGrady added the extras for 12-0.

The Cutters were on the board in the 36th minute, giving them confidence to take to halftime.

Winger Sheldon Bobbert crossed after halves Cook and Lloyd White combined in a slick shift to the left. Marcus Jensen’s conversion made it 12-6.

The Cutters kept the momentum going after the break too. Just three minutes into the second half Gerrard pushed through the defence close to the line to level the scores, then centre Jensen latched onto a Cook grubber into the in-goal only six minutes later with Jensen’s conversion making it 18-12.

Cook set up a try for Jordan Kenworthy with a dummy outside and neat pass in from 10 metres after Mackay, with all the running since the break, gained possession from another Seagulls’ error. Jensen’s goal made it 24 points in just 25 minutes to the visitors.

With 12 minutes remaining, hooker Reuben Cotter completed the dramatic Mackay fightback. After gaining possession from a scrum after a lucky bounce forced a Tweed knock-on from a last-tackle grubber, Cotter too easily got over the line when he squared up after throwing two dummies as he ran across in front of the tryline. Jensen made it five from five for a 30-12 lead.

Talor Walters crossed for a consolation Tweed Heads try in the 76th minute – 47 minutes after their previous try when they were dominating the match.

Both sides have next weekend off and will be back in action in Round 20. The Seagulls will travel to Ipswich to face the Jets. 

The Cutters will be at home to the Falcons.