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Cutters down Capras in intense battle

The Mackay Cutters secured their first home victory of the season with an intense 20-18 win over old foes the Central Queensland Capras in XXXX Rivalry Round.

Despite missing their entire allocation of North Queensland Cowboys players, Mackay was able to beat a determined Capras side with a show of defensive resilience, the game coming down to a final scrambling tackle as time expired.

The Cutters took the box seat in the contest in the opening exchanges, withstanding an early Capras raid with eager defence before marching downfield in attack, as second rower Kellen Jenner powered over from short range to put the hosts in front.

The Cutters struck again a short time later with some flashy footy; a break down the left flank seeing Josh Smith latch onto a brilliant flick pass from his winger as he raced 70 metres to score.

The Capras got themselves back into the contest through centre Jake Maizen with quick ball movement seeing him score down the right flank.

Both sides exhibited stout defence as the match wore on, but neither were able to crack the other as the contest remained in the balance into half-time, Mackay leading 12-6.

The Cutters gave themselves crucial breathing room after the main break as Jesse Dee crashed over adjacent the posts off a short ball from his inside man.

But the Capras stubbornly remained in touch with the hosts, prop forward Nixon Putt crossing the stripe on a surging run that saw him shake off several defenders.

Halfback Brandon Finnegan gave the hosts an important eight-point buffer off the back of a penalty goal with a quarter of the game remaining.

The Capras then set up a grandstand finish when winger Jedidiah Simbiken scored in the right corner as Mackay ran out of cover defenders down the flank.

But a final defensive stand saw the hosts gamely hang on to a crucial victory that allowed them to leapfrog their Rockhampton-based opponents on the foot of the ladder.

“It was tough. They hit hard but we got the two points and we’re happy with that,” Mackay winger Jake Riley said post-match.

“We knew it was going to be hard coming off a few losses in a row, but we scrambled really well (in defence) and got around each other tonight.

“We definitely missed (the Cowboys allotted players), but we’re a tight group and it was awesome to see some local lads make their debuts tonight.

"All we were searching for was a win, and hopefully this can turn our season around a bit.”

The Cutters travel inland to Dysart to face the Norths Devils in next weekend's Activate! Queensland Country Week round.

The Capras tackle the Tigers in Gladstone.