In what coach Scott Sipple described as his team’s best 80 minutes of the season the Easts Tigers put together a clinical display to dispatch the Mackay Cutters 34-10 at Suzuki Stadium Langlands Park on Saturday afternoon.
Having been down 10-0 against the Sunshine Coast a week ago the Tigers were determined to start better this week and captain Jake Foster was heavily involved early as he led from the front and made plenty of meters down the left edge. They got their reward in only the 2nd minute when a sweeping backline movement saw Shane Neumann score. It started with a running Billy Walters linking with Gerard McCullum who timed his incision into the backline perfectly. Something he would do repeatedly during the afternoon. Once tackled he slipped away a sublime pass to Jarrod McInally who stood like a colossus and held off the defence before passing to his left edge partner Neumann who, with a lovely hit and spin movement, crashed over to score.
It was PNG test hooker Tommy Butterfield doing it all himself for the Tigers second try, in the 18th minute. He benefited from a quick play the ball from Jack Svendsen 10 metres out and scythed to the line leaving four Cutters defenders in his wake. Brayden Torpy slotted the conversion and the Tigers led 10-0.
The Cutters had limited opportunities in the first half, with the Tigers completing their sets 90% of the time and forcing the Cutters to drop out from their own goal line repeatedly. They hit back in the 23rd minute through Nicho Hynes, who was one of their best, with his kicks often precise and well chosen. It was his running game though that created this try. Billy Walters shot off his line to shut Hynes down, however could not make the tackle and Hynes exploded into the gap. The Tigers defenders held back waiting for another kick, however he sprinted for the line and scored untouched to bring the score to 10-4.
Linc Port scored the Tigers third try after a beautiful team effot saw the ball flow from Billy Walters to Torpy, McCullum, Conor Carey and finally Port to score in the right-hand corner. Torpy slotted another conversion and the Tigers took a 16-4 lead into the break.
It was the Torpy and McCullum show in the second half as they combined for two tries. In the 43rd minute Man of the Match McCullum chimed into the backline perfectly, again, to catch an out pass and score. Five minutes later Torpy sent the ball on the inside to McCullum was lurking with intend and scored.
The teams traded tries late in the game, with 100 game man Jarrod McInally pulling in a high bomb to score for the Tigers last try before Lona Kaifoto barged over for a consolation try for the Cutters.
The Cutters are to professional to look for excuses, though they did have a horror trip to Brisbane. Their flight to was diverted to the Gold Coast because of fog, they were then diverted away from the Gold Coast because too many planes were there and headed to Rockhampton, where they arrived and finally got into their some hurriedly organised accommodation at 1am on Saturday morning. It was then up at 5am as the team was split into two separate travel parties because there were not enough seats available to fly them to Brisbane as a group.
The Tigers best was Gerard McCullum however they had no bad players. Brayden Torpy and Shane Neumann were also very good.
For the Cutters Nicho Hynes, Jack Joass and Braden Uele tried hard all day and Hynes and Bampling showed signs of how dangerous they can be.
Next weekend promises an absolute blockbuster between the Tigers and the Ipswich Jets at Suzuki Stadium while the Cutters will be relieved to be at home against the Capras.