Devils eye top four after win over Cutters

The Norths Devils continued their push for a top four spot with a comfortable 32-10 victory over the Mackay Cutters at BB Print Stadium.

Ball handling and ill-discipline plagued the Cutters all game long as the Devils made light work of a glut of possession and field position to have the game effectively wrapped up by the three-quarter mark, ending Mackay’s finals hopes in the process.

The Devils were able to repel an early onslaught from the Cutters, and were rewarded for their defensive efforts when they had their chance to attack, a big break from Jack Ahearn setting up Brandon Lee’s run to the try line on the next play to give the hosts the lead.

The Cutters paid for their passiveness in the lead up to Norths’ second try, a towering bomb allowed to bounce by the Mackay backs, the Steeden bouncing perfectly for Herbie Farnworth to pluck it out of the air and race away to score in the left corner.

The Devils were in again after some terrible ball control from Mackay handed cheap possession to the visitors, Farnworth getting his second try of the night a few plays later off the back of a sweeping play to the left flank that gave his side a 16-0 lead, one they would hold until halftime.

The Devils picked up where they left off in the second half, Mackay conceding a penalty in their own half before Jordan Riki crashed over from close range to give his side a 20-point buffer.

A spilled bomb would add to Mackay’s nightmare game, the Devils capitalising through Ethan Bullemor as he ran a perfect line through the heart of the weary defence to score untouched beside the posts.

Jack Ahearn bought up Norths’ sixth try of the night, muscling his way over to score with a tick over twenty minutes remaining, before Mackay would finally strike through a long-range effort from Sheldon Bobbert who found himself on an overlap down the left edge and used his speed to beat the cover defence to the left corner.

Jack Brock added another consolation try for Mackay with time running out, forcing his way across the stripe on the left flank, but the damage had been done, Norths taking out a convincing victory.

“It’s a disappointing result,” Mackay coach Steve Sheppard lamented post-game.

“We lost confidence and went into our shell. Norths came out well, they supported each other, they’ve got some sharp halves.

“We didn’t respect the ball, we came into the game mentally flat after last week (against Sunshine Coast), we had players out there trying to take short cuts instead of putting in the effort. 

"We should be playing consistent football, but coming into game situations we can’t seem to handle it. We’ll try and finish as high up the ladder as we can and see what we can come up with.”