A short turnaround for the Mackay Cutters means one less day of rest before their final home game of the season against Norths Devils at BB Print Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Cutters, who currently sit in sixth place, one point behind the traveling North Devils, are looking to bolster their finals standing with only three weeks left in the regular season.
Match: Cutters v Devils
Round 21 -
Venue: BB Print Stadium Mackay
The Cutters edged Norths by a single point in their last meeting in May, thanks to a penalty goal by Brendan White in the final five minutes of the game.
Coach Michael Comerford said he expected his team to be able to handle the pressure of the shorter turnaround in front of a home crowd.
“Last weekend we played a very physical game against the Falcons, so it’s important for our lads to take advantage of their rest before this weekend’s final home game,” Comerford said.
The former Cup player was quick to praise his young Hastings Deering Colts side, heaping further praise on fullback Rayden Burns after a string of top performances.
“We have been lucky that we’ve been able to play without many changes in the squad from week to week,” he said.
“Rayden (Burns) has been having a great season in our backline, but the whole team has really come together to get us where we are.”
With a place in the Hastings Deering Colts finals series not yet fully secured, coach Comerford and his players remained realistic about their outlook on the final few weeks of the competition.
“We want to approach every game with the same intensity from Round 1 to Round 23,” Comerford said.
“Our eyes are squarely set on Norths this weekend, but we know that Redcliffe and Ipswich have been finding a bit of form at the end of the season, so we will be working hard to be ready for them too.”
The young Cutters side have grown together through the ranks of junior football to this competition, something that coach Comerford takes pride in for his players.
“These players grew up playing junior football together, they are a Mackay local team and they are starting to see the rewards for their hard work as a unit,” he said.
“It’s our last home game of the season, we’re looking forward to seeing the local support for a great group of young home-grown talent.”
Elsewhere in the competition – the Burleigh Bears and Northern Pride will kick off the round on Saturday afternoon when they face off at Pizzey Park. The Dolphins will be at home to the Capras, while the last game of the afternoon will see the Jets host the Souths Logan Magpies.
Sunday’s matches will feature the Falcons at home to the Blackhawks in a top four clash, while the Wynnum Manly Seagulls will be at home to a Mustangs side hoping to achieve an upset. The round will conclude with the Tweed Seagulls aiming to take the place of the Easts Tigers in the top eight.