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Round 5 Sunday wrap: Clinical Cutters put Clydesdales to sword

The Cutters have put the exclamation mark on a weekend of Mackay female rugby league dominance with a 34-6 victory in their BMD Premiership clash with Western Clydesdales.

The Clydesdales held sway in the opening stages of the game at Toowoomba Sports Complex, but the Cutters withstood the pressure and made it count when they got their opportunity.

Alisha Foord scored from hooker after 11 minutes, and towards the back end of the half the visitors crossed through Krystal Blackwell to make it 10-0 at half-time.

They kept the momentum going in the second half with Emily Bella scoring five minutes after the interval.

The Clydesdales had themselves back in the game just a few minutes later - Nikki Cox helping her side close to 16-6 with plenty of time on the clock.

The hope was short-lived as the Cutters charged up the field when they next received the ball, forced an error from the Clydesdales on their own line and added four-pointer to their tally.

The home side upped their defensive energy and put Mackay under pressure in a bid to fight back, but again couldn't capitalise on their opportunities on the line.

The Cutters put the result to bed in the 61st minute when centre Jasmine Peters strode through a yawning gap off a deft Tahlulah Tillett pass to make it 24-6.

Bree Chester added another the next set after the Clydesdales put the restart out on the full, before Tillett scored one of her own in the final minutes with a dummy and run.

Western Clydesdales v Mackay Cutters. Photo: Benny Hassum/QRL
Western Clydesdales v Mackay Cutters. Photo: Benny Hassum/QRL

Mackay Cutters coach Marco Peters said his side took inspiration from cheering on the club's Harvey Norman Under 19s in their grand final win on Saturday.

"We spoke about it last night in our pre-game review, the Under 19s and how resilient they were. A number of those girls train with us each week and were really proud of what their efforts were," he said.

They showed every bit of that resilience when Krystal Blackwell was placed in the sin bin just two minutes into the contest, continuing the Cutter's trend of placing themselves in "uncomfortable" scenarios early in games.

Peters put it down to the intensity of the preseason 'ruck room' taking the defence to the next level.

"If you look at our five games collectively, there's heaps of periods of time we've had to turn back five to seven to 10 minutes on our line... and the defensive resolve, back-to-back efforts and pushing up is really helping us get home in these games," he said.

"I think we had a really good defensive coach through the preseason. We did a lot of 'ruck room' stuff and I know the girls hadn't had that much of that in the past.

Western Clydesdales v Mackay Cutters. Photo: Benny Hassum/QRL
Western Clydesdales v Mackay Cutters. Photo: Benny Hassum/QRL

"The 'ruck room' is pretty intimidating stuff when you haven't done that before and... the buy in from that was massive and I think that's really put the backbone into our defence this year.

"We always seem to come good at the important times of games and I think we did that well at the back end of the first half, and we were pretty clinical in the second."

Peters paid respect to the Clydesdales for giving them a strong contest despite missing the likes of Ali Brigginshaw, Kezie Apps and Keeley Davis.

"Much respect to Toowoomba understanding they had some key players out. I think they gave us a tough game - maybe the scoreline didn't reflect that in the end - but they were tough at home," he said.

The one low note for the Cutters was a knee injury to lock Tiana Raftstrand-Smith, which could keep her sidelined multiple weeks.

Mackay Cutters now sit three points ahead of their nearest rival on top of the BMD Premiership ladder.

In the opening game of the day at BMD Kougari Oval, Burleigh Bears prevailed in an entertaining five-tries-to-four 22-20 win over Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

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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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