Mackay Cutters got their 2019 Intrust Super Cup season back on track, downing Northern Pride on a history-making night at BB Print Stadium in Mackay.
The Pride entered the contest having won seven of their past eight games against the Cutters, but a confident Cutters side showed they were up to the task in grinding out a tight arm wrestle before running away with a deserved 22-6 win late in the contest.
The night started poorly for the visitors; William Bugden was sin-binned early in the game for a professional foul in holding down in a tackle, the Cutters making the Pride pay when a short ball found a hard-charging Emry Pere for the first try of the match.
The Pride all but gifted the Cutters their second try of the night; a towering bomb dropped cold in front of their own try line, the ball trickling into the path of Yamba Bowie, who touched down under the posts for a 12-0 lead, which they would defend until halftime.
Shawn Bowen crossed out wide early in the second stanza to show signs of life from the visiting Pride, cutting Cutters’ lead in half as the Pride began to wrestle back control of the contest.
But it was the Cutters who would land the crucial blow.
Five-eighth Jack Hickson burrowed his way across to score, to crucially extend the lead in the final quarter of the contest.
The Pride began to lose their cool as the Cutters poured the pressure on them late in the game. Javid Bowen was sent from the field after a verbal altercation with an official, before Reuben Cotter barged over to seal a memorable win for the home side.
The victory not only saw the Cutters reclaim the Queensland Country Health Cup from the Pride, but also secure the prestigious Foley Shield for the first time since 2011.
“We came up with a game plan tonight and executed it well,” Cutters coach Steve Sheppard said post-game.
“Our defence has been strong all year, and it showed in keeping a quality side like the Pride down.
“They’ve got a quality side right across the park, but the boys did a marvellous job at keeping them at bay.”
“The Foley Shield is one of the biggest prizes in the game and there was a contribution right across the board within this club (needed) to win it.
“Fifty per cent of our playing group are local juniors, there’s a good vibe around the club and I think we’re doing a really good job.”
Cutters face Norths Devils in Round 10.
Pride will take on Burleigh Bears, who beat Redcliffe Dolphins 48-0 at Dolphin Stadium tonight.