Maiden title for Mackay Cutters
A COOL-HEADED Matt Minto led the Mackay Cutters to the club's first Intrust Super Cup premiership with a composed performance in his side's 27-20 win over Easts Tigers.
The Cutters halfback and Rockhampton product played a hand in two of the Cutters' five tries, before slotting a field goal to break the deadlock in the 74th minute at North Ipswich Reserve yesterday.
Minto joined former Rockhampton Brothers star Chris Gesch in the winning team, while ex-Central Queensland Capras captain Tim Glasby was unlucky for the Tigers.
Melbourne Storm-contract centre Junior Sa'u scored the first of his two tries in the eighth minute, before Intrust Super Cup 'player of the carnival' Cody Walker added the extras to give Easts an early lead.
Minto put winger Bureta Faraimo away to score his second try of the grand final within the space of a couple of minutes to give Mackay a 10-8 lead six minutes before half-time.
But Easts hit back three minutes before the break through Sau, who pounced on a loose ball after Cutters fullback Liam Taylor let a towering Tom Butterfield bomb bounce.
Walker converted the try for the Tigers to head into half-time leading 14-10.
Mackay returned serve six minutes after half-time when Minto, who received a dubious pass from Anthony Mitchell, spotted some space down the Tigers' right edge.
From 30m out, the Cutters halfback hit centre Kalifa Faifai Loa to put winger David Mills over to tie the scores at 14-14.
Minto nailed a beautiful sideline conversion after Morgan scored a miraculous try with 20 minutes to go to put the Cutters ahead 20-14.
Big Tigers prop Mitch Garbutt, who was his side's best, barged over to score to the right of the posts and Walker added the extras to tie the match up at 20-20 with 11 minutes to go.
From another barnstorming run from Jason Taumalolo, Anthony Mitchell ran through a gaping hold in the Easts Tigers defence to seal the match.
Mitchell received the Duncan Hall Medal for player of the match.
Mackay Cutters 27 (B Faraimo 2, M Morgan, D Milne, A Mitchell tries; L Taylor, D Milne, M Minto goals; M Minto field goal) def Easts Tigers 20 (J Sa'u 2, M Garbutt tries; C Walker 4 goals).