Mackay Cutters v Norths Devils, Intrust Super Cup Round 21 at BB Print Stadium. Jack Brock with the ball.
Mackay Cutters v Norths Devils, Intrust Super Cup Round 21 at BB Print Stadium. Jack Brock with the ball. Aidan Cureton

Devils use hell-fire to burn Cutters' 2019 dreams

THE Mackay Cutters' final home crowd of the season went home silently after seeing a 32-10 pelting by Norths Devils.

Coach Steve Sheppard struggled to find any positives to take away from the clumsy performance.

"Nothing worked, we had no fluency all night,” he said.

"Defensively we didn't stick to what we talked about; it was a tough night at the office.”

The home side showed promise in the first half and kept the Devils at bay for the first ten; until Brandon Lee manoeuvred past a flat-footed Mackay defence to open the scoring.

Pauli Byrnes almost got even with a break down the middle but was stopped centimetres from the try line, losing the ball in the process.

That dropped ball would be a precursor to the Cutters' biggest issue throughout the night.

"It was just a real scrappy game in the first half,” Sheppard said.

"Both teams just didn't respect the ball. . . it's disappointing.”

The home team never saw the second try coming when a bomb on the fifth tackle bounced right into Devils winger Herbie Farnworth's clutches and he paced over the line uncontested on the left flank.

Farnworth came back for seconds just three minutes after his first try to cross the stripe again.

An uneventful second half proceeded with both sides locked in a tight arm-wrestle.

The Cutters still seemed to have a chance with a 16-10 score at the break.

The second half was where Mackay's slim chances of qualifying for finals were dashed as a red hot Jordan Riki thundered through to further the Devils' lead.

Ethan Bullemor, Connor Broadhurst and Jack Ahern all helped build the score further from the Cutters' grasp.

Still the Mackay side showed they would not go out quietly and gave two strong tries in the final five minutes of play.

Sheldon Bobbert's dash from the Cutters' 30-metre mark to the try line in the last five gave the Mackay audience a reason to cheer, but it was too little too late.

"I think we had lost so much confidence at first half with all those dropped balls we just went into a shell,” Sheppard said.

"With 10 minutes to go we decided to play how we wanted to and ask some questions about luck.”

Jack Brock gave the Cutters their second just two minutes after Bobbert's success.

Sheppard said his men had come out flat, which was partly because of a lingering "hangover” from their Sunshine Coast Falcons match the week before.

"Our wellness scores were well down, we knew we put a lot of effort into Sunny Coast,” Sheppard said.

The Cutters coach said that should not have been an excuse.

"But Thursday and Friday's sessions were the best we've had all year,” Sheppard said.

"It was just people looking for shortcuts instead of rolling their sleeves up.”



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