23 May, 2021
Resilient Cutters pipped by Pride
THE Mackay Cutters left empty handed after a heart-breaking final minute loss to their rivals Northern Pride at BB Print Stadium.
Playing a man down for much of the contest, the Cutters matched the Pride step for step until a final minute try sealed their fate in the BHP Indigenous Round match up.
Pride played an up-tempo style of football with fast line speed that had the Cutters on the back foot early. But sending off in the first half seemingly galvanised the hosts, and they staged a spirted comeback to lead the contest with just minutes remaining, but ultimately fell short as Pride continued their quest for a top four spot.
Pride opened the scoring for the afternoon when hooker Chris Ostwald shed an attempted tackle and powered over. And they would grab their second a short time later; Joshua Stuckey latched onto a short ball and crashed over to push the lead to 10.
Mackay’s battle became that much harder when halfback Brandon Finnegan was sent from the field for a high tackle, reducing the hosts to 12 men for the remainder of the contest. Pride capitalised instantly; Bernard Lewis crossed on the right edge.
Despite being shorthanded, the Cutters would show their resolve; a pin-point cross field bomb found the arms of a flying Brenton Baira on debut, who got the hosts on the scoreboard.
A 40/20 kick saw the Cutters get back into attacking territory, with centre Michael Bell picking the gap in the defence and crossing on the right edge.
Pride struck back in the shadows of half-time however, a cross field bomb of their own finding Shawn Pierce unmarked on the left flank to push the lead to a converted try at the break.
The Cutters would open the second half in great fashion, another cross-field kick finding its mark with Keanu Wainohu-Kemp scored out wide to bring the hosts right back into the contest.
The Cutters found themselves in the lead of the contest when Baira scored his second try of the afternoon, utilising his quickness and slicing through a gap down the right flank.
But it would be the visitors with the final say; Grant Anderson found the final push against weary Mackay defence in the final minute of the contest. Pride snatched victory, with the hosts left to rue an agonising defeat.
“Full credit to the Cutters... they kept coming tonight,” Pride head coach Ty Williams said post-match.
“It was a bit tough in that second half watching us rush things and watching it unfold and having to adjust.
"We will have to play better if we want to match it with the big teams. But we are a young squad, and we keep learning on the run, and we keep finding a way and that’s what defines this club.”
Pride will face Brisbane Tigers in Round 9.
Cutters will clash with Wynnum Manly Seagulls.