Toyota Cowboys Curtis Rona and Glenn Hall both scored tries but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Mackay Cutters from falling to a 22-14 loss to the Burleigh Bears in slippery conditions at Pizzey Park on the Gold Coast on Sunday.
Pushing for an NRL call-up, Rona beat several defenders on his way to the line in the ninth minute after Burleigh got away to a flying start when Matt Keating, who was a big contributor in his first game since round four, put a deft grubber kick into the in-goal leading to a Henare Wells try.
Chris Ulugia made it back-to-back tries for Mackay before Hall ran over the top of three Burleigh defenders for his try to put the Cutters eight points up in the first half.
Their advantage was halved on the stroke of half time thanks to Ryley Jacks crossing from close range.
There was only a quarter of the game remaining when a try out of dummy half to Matt Keating saw the Bears regain the lead.
Mackay had plenty of chances to hit back, hammering away at the Bears’ line for a number of sets, and even had a shot at penalty goal in the 73rd minute to level up at 16-all.
Liam Taylor’s attempt was waved away and another dummy half try in the dying seconds, this time to Nafe Seluini, sealed the 22-14 win for the Bears.
Cutters coach Kim Williams was a frustrated man after the game, but still praised the defensive efforts of his men and the team spirit they have shown this year despite only picking up the one win so far.
“We’re just finding ways to lose games at the moment. It’s really frustrating,” he said.
“I think at crucial moments of the game we came up short. We dropped a couple of balls late in that second half that hurt us and then a couple of penalties hurt us as well.
“We were better this week than last week but we’re nowhere near where I believe we should be.
"We’ve had a lot of turnover of players and it’s just not coming together as early as I would have liked.
“We’re definitely a work in progress; young halves and a young team overall, but we’ve got to be better to beat teams in this comp.”
The Northern Pride’s clash with Easts in Cairns was postponed due to Cyclone Ita.
BURLEIGH BEARS 22 (Henare Wells, Ryley Jacks, Matt Keating, Nafe Seluini tries; Khan Ahwang 3 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 14 (Curtis Rona, Chris Ulugia, Glenn Hall tries; Liam Taylor goal) at Pizzey Park.