Bambling injury punctuates narrow Cutters loss
ANOTHER 10 minutes and the Mackay Cutters probably end Round 6 with two more competition points.
Instead, Steve Sheppard's side were left two short against the Tweed Heads Seagulls in their Intrust Super Cup encounter at BB Print Stadium on Saturday night.
Playing with a gale at their backs for the opening 40 minutes, the Seagulls took full advantage to lead 14-2 at the break.
But the winds of change blew with the swapping of ends, and the Cutters regained momentum after the restart.
Shane Wright did his NRL hopes no disservice by crossing for a double in the second-half to bring the Cutters back to within two points.
However returning fullback Carlin Anderson sailed the conversion attempt wide, and the Seagulls held firm in defence for the final 10 minutes to upset a vocal home crowd.
Sheppard was impressed with the defensive solidarity of his side, but lamented some poor last-tackle options which left points on the field.
"I thought when we got to the crucial stages and crucial times we probably took the wrong option,” Sheppard said.
"We overplayed our hand and came up with some options that when you look at it again, you wouldn't want to do.”
In a cruel double blow for the home side, skipper Cooper Bambling was helped from the field late in the first half after going down in a heap just inches from the tryline.
He will have scans this week to confirm the extent of his ankle injury.
With five-eighth Lloyd White already missing, the Cutters were forced into another reshuffle when Bambling left the field.
Sheppard said the lack of an established halves pairing was a big factor in the Cutters failing to capitalise on their field dominance in the second half.
"I thought Ryley Jacks for them, he just kicked them into corners (and) found touch when he wanted to. That's the management we need to have in crucial times, and when Lloyd has been there it's fair to say he's done that, so we probably missed him in that area,” Sheppard said.
Intrust Super Cup Round 6
Tweed Heads Seagulls 14 (T. Spry, T. Walters tries; L. McGrady 3 goals) def. Mackay Cutters 12 (S. Wright 2 tries; C. Anderson 2 goals) at BB Print Stadium Mackay