The Mackay Cutters ended Wynnum Manly’s unbeaten run at home with a 79th minute try from Cowboys back Curtis Rona that lifted the defending Intrust Super Cup premiers to a thrilling 18-16 victory over the Seagulls on Saturday night.
With a 16-6 lead at half time, the Seagulls looked well placed to win their eighth match in succession at BMD Kougari Oval.
But the Cutters, desperately in need of a victory with the top five almost beyond reach, had different ideas and kept the Seagulls scoreless in the second half with an aggressive defensive display.
Mackay bridged the gap to 16-12 with an early second-half try and then secured a memorable win when hooker Anthony Mitchell combined with Rona who forced his way over the line to level the score at 16-all, leading to Liam Taylor’s all-important conversion.
“It’s probably the first time we’ve strung together two really good performances in a row this season,” Mackay coach Kim Williams said.
The win was also Mackay’s second victory over the Seagulls in 2014.
“It was similar to how we beat them in the first round (12-4)," Williams said.
“We were very aggressive in defence and energetic across the park.”
The Cutters, who remain in 11th place, will now turn their focus to Saturday night’s home game against the second-placed PNG Hunters.
Meanwhile, the Northern Pride’s lead in the race for the minor premiership is now three points after they narrowly avoided succumbing to the upset of the season against the winless Sunshine Coast Falcons.
The Pride needed a last-minute Sam Obst field goal from 20 metres out to deny the Falcons their first point of 2014.
On a horrible 32-match losing streak, Sunshine Coast received a dream start to the match by opening the scoring in the fourth minute when five-eighth Brett Doherty saw space and found the line from close range.
Falcons skipper Ryan Hansen converted from almost directly in front to hand Sunshine Coast a 6-0 lead.
Their advantage didn’t last long as a dropped ball from their very next set led to the Pride's Tyrone McCarthy cutting back on the angle to muscle his way over the line, which eventually levelled the score at 6-all thanks to Shaun Nona's conversion.
A Pride mistake 10 metres out from their line allowed the Falcons dangerous field position and the home side responded with Doherty receiving the ball from the scrum and finding the line for his second try.
Hansen's conversion saw the Falcons lead 12-6 in the 20th minute.
In similar fashion to the Pride's opening try, the Falcons gifted their opposition the ball from a mistake.
Fullback Hezron Murgha caught the attention of the Falcons' defence, enabling him to dish a pass off to Javid Bowen, with the Cowboys centre crossing out wide to take the score to 12-10 after 23 minutes.
Just when it appeared the scoreboard would remain untouched heading into the break, Hansen slotted a penalty goal on the stroke of half time to extend the Falcons' lead to 14-10.
The home side started the second stanza in opposite fashion to the first 40, conceding a try within the first three minutes.
Five-eighth Nona found Blake Leary and the back-rower crashed over the line to level the score at 14-all.
MACKAY CUTTERS 18 (Curtis Rona 2, Chris Gesch tries; Liam Taylor 3 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 16 (Matthew Grieve, Jordan Kahu, Timothy Natusch tries; Matthew Seamark 2 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.
NORTHERN PRIDE 15 (Javid Bowen, Blake Leary, Tyrone McCarthy tries; Shaun Nona goal; Sam Obst field goal) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 14 (Brett Doherty 2 tries; Ryan Hansen 3 goals) at Stockland Stadium.