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Improved Cutters overpower Blackhawks in northern clash

The Cyril Connell Challenge only had one game played for Round 4 last weekend, with Jack Manski Oval hosting the northern match-up between Townsville Blackhawks and Mackay Cutters.

Cutters’ back-rower Liam Doherty must have been watching the 'Rocky' movies during the week, because he went all Ivan Drago on the Blackhawks with his runs and tries breaking the game, being granted weapon status for his performance.

'What a weapon!' - Liam Doherty

The Cutters have won two of their three games, beating Townsville for the first time after losing by only two points in Round 1. They now have one more game to go against the Pride.

Cutters coach John Mulherin was sure he had seen improvement during the competition.

“I think we have improved from Round 1 to now; we lost by two points to Townsville, but this time, we beat them and I think played really well,” Mulherin said.

“This side is a great group of young men and I have really enjoyed it this season... it’s been a good campaign.

“We had to be up at 4am to play Townsville and it’s a big commitment."

Their win was started in the first minute when winger Ballin Burnett got across the line for Mackay and from there, the visitors controlled the game.

The Cutters had 58 per cent of the ball and their 41 tackle breaks kept the pressure mounting on Townsville.

Mackay's kicking game kept forcing the Blackhawks to haul it back up field from deep in their own end and that pressure turned into 41 missed tackles for Townsville as Doherty ran his way to two tries.

All photos: Katelyn Vidler
All photos: Katelyn Vidler

Townsville coach Nathan Norford wasn’t happy with his side's start to the contest.

“I think after half-time, we completed three of 11 sets which makes it hard to win games,” Norford said.

“We ended up with 43 per cent of the ball which makes your job very hard.

“The Cutters got in the grind and stayed there for the whole game.

"They did it very well.”

This weekend, all teams have a break over Easter, with the competition to resume for Round 5 on April 10.