Capras victorious: 'Tonight was something special'
RUGBY LEAGUE: As the siren wailed at Browne Park tonight, cheers erupted from a sea of maroon and blue.
"The atmosphere is always good here but tonight was something special,” Central Queensland Capras' coach Kim Williams said after his team's 20-6 wipe-out against Mackay Cutters in the round 16 Intrust Super Cup clash.
Capras' fans roared as the game against Cutters came to an end for their first victory since their 15-8 triumph over Northern Pride on April 21.
Determined to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon, the Capras were on top for most of the 80 minutes and were barely touched by the Cutters.
Williams was "one happy coach” as he reflected on a game that had finally showcased the team's diligent spirit.
"It's been a while since I've been this happy,” Williams said as fans and players poured onto the field.
"It sort of feels like a mini grand final. It's been a long while coming.
"It would've been pretty easy to just drop their heads after the last few weeks and feel hard done by but to their credit, the attitude here has been great all the way through.
"I think that will lift us now for the last eight rounds and we've got the opportunity to hopefully win a few more games and move up the ladder and make something out of a pretty tough season.”
Williams said the team knew, going into the match, that Mackay's defensive record was the "lowest in the competition” but they didn't make too many errors.
"That was the thing we wanted to put back on them and I guess, give them nothing,” he said.
"We knew if we could control the ball and build a bit of pressure, there was a good chance we would be able to score some points and get a win tonight.
"To our credit, we followed that game plan without Jack Madden again and for the two young halves to do a good job on that - I thought our hookers and Zeik Foster at fullback were just excellent as well in those big moments in the game.
"We've let a couple of games go from poor game management, but I think today we learned how to win a game again.”
Coal train, Dave Taylor, was taken off the field in the first half of his 50th Intrust game with a strained calf muscle.
He was left off to recover instead of risking another senior landing a "season-ending injury”.
"Hopefully it's just a minor strain and he'll be back next week,” Williams said.
"It's just a case tonight of everyone doing their job and Dave was certainly one of those as well.”
The placement of Luke George on the wing was reminiscent of his days playing in England for the Huddersfield Giants.
The senior player was picked over younger guys, Jamie Minto and Jace O'Neill, to defend the centre.
"It was such a crunch game for us and so important for us to get a win tonight,” Williams said.
"It was important to have an experienced guy out there.
"Luke had two tries and some pretty good defensive efforts there so he should be pretty pleased with himself.”
Despite the loss of Captain Jack Madden and Billy Cullen after Friday's training ruled them out of the Cutters clash, the team managed to keep their opposition at bay with nary a nerve-wracking moment.
"It's tough times at the moment but we're playing some great footy and finally showing we're a team that can beat,” Williams said.
Even though it's been a tough season, the CQ boys have kept spirits high and stayed determined to further their spot on the ladder.
This determined spirit is something Williams said has instilled in the team from day one.
"It's just a good bunch of guys,” he said.
"They can compete really well and they're pretty disappointed where we are on the ladder (second bottom).
"That's the motivation behind it.
"They've got a lot of self-respect and pride in the club and I think that shone through today.
"They just want to finish well and get the most out of the season.”
For now, the team is revelling in their win and last night enjoyed a couple of celebratory beers before preparing for their next match against South Logan Magpies next week.
"We'll go and sing that song,” Williams said of the team's victory war-cry.
"It's been a while.”
CQ Capras (Luke George 2, Chanel Seigafo, Jamie Hill tries; Connor Broadhurst 2 goals).
Mackay Cutters (Kyle Laybutt try; Jack Joass goal).
Capras U20s were defeated by Cutters U20s 14-28 at Browne Park.