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Resilient Cutters take out inaugural Harvey Norman Under 19 grand final

A gutsy, brave Mackay Cutters side have taken out the inaugural Harvey Norman Under 19 grand final 18-16 over Brisbane Tigers.

The game at Totally Workwear Stadium was entertaining, tough and a true arm wrestle; down two players through injury for the final 17 minutes of the game, the Cutters held on to their lead despite the best efforts from the Tigers.

There was a lengthy delay in play - more than 45 minutes - after Cutters No.13 Leila Murphy injured her ankle around the 42-minute mark; once the ambulance took her away - to an applauding crowd - it was game on between the two sides.

The crowd was going wild as they battled for the win.

Cutters assistant coach Jamaiah Hutchison said he was simply pumped following the epic clash and was so proud of the resilience and effort put in.

"It was a bit nerve-wracking towards the end but very exciting for the girls," Hutchison said.

"With a really big stoppage it's kind of hard to keep everyone on track for how long the girls were out for... we just took a step back and tried to realise what we had to do as our job, get back into our warm-up and try and execute what we've been doing really well for that whole game.

"The Tigers started strong... they've got a big pack and we thought they were going to really use it quite well so we made a couple of changes to try and suit the physicality. They obviously had the home crowd advantage... we could barely hear ourselves talk over the crowd so we expected they were going to come out guns blazing. 

"We had a few tries saved on the line. The girls put themselves in a position for match-winning moments in the game, so they did that really well and showed a lot of resilience."

Cutters halfback and captain Mersades Lawson and centre Jennifer Kimber both scored doubles in the game as they kept the edge over the Tigers to claim the 18-16 win. And it was hooker Paityne Johns who claimed player of the match honours.

Paityne Johns. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL
Paityne Johns. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL

Hutchison said Cutters head coach Matt Sanders, absent for personal reasons, would be so proud of his side.

"Matt will be over the moon... he called me about 30 times through the game, as he should, but he'll be over the moon," Hutchison said.

"I already know exactly how he would've reacted too... he would've jumped up from his chair and started cheering and I'm sure there would've been someone telling him to calm down.

"Very happy for Matt. He deserves this more than anyone, in his role for the last three of four years, and he has earned it."

Hutchison said winning this first Harvey Norman Under 19 grand final - making history - was "massive for the club".

"It shows just how good our football is up north," Hutchison said.

"The girls worked so hard for it... they put the work and effort in there and got the result."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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