Northern Pride’s Patrick Kaufusi is tackled by Cutters Chris Gesch, Brad Lupi and Sam Clune
Northern Pride’s Patrick Kaufusi is tackled by Cutters Chris Gesch, Brad Lupi and Sam Clune Tony Martin

Cutters to play for pride with finals now distant

RUGBY LEAGUE: The finals are all but off the cards for the Mackay Cutters.

After their 26-22 home loss to the Northern Pride, they'll need results to go their way if they are to play off for the premiership.

The most disappointing thing for coach Kim Williams is that he believes his side can mix it with the best. A sombre Williams post match rued the missed opportunity against the Pride.

"We were our own worst enemy," he said. "We didn't do enough work when the game was on the line."

The Cutters received no favours with a late disallowed Mitch Day effort called against the home side.

Williams, and the home crowd, all thought Day's effort was a try but he was ruled short.

The Cutters stormed back after being down 20-6 early in the second half. A late try to Sam Clune, converted by Liam Taylor, ensured a cliff-hanger finish.

Clune played in the halves for the first time this year, swapping his fullback role with Liam Taylor.

"We had to try something different," Williams said. "I thought that worked well."

Williams said he'd review the game vision before deciding on next week's halves pairing.

It is a familiar role for Clune who has played most of his career in the halves, Williams said. Josh Chudleigh didn't play for the Cutters but, frustratingly, didn't play with the North Queensland Cowboys either, instead sitting out as 18th man.

Next week the Cutters travel south to play Norths Devils in Dalby.

To reach the finals the Cutters need the Pride or Easts Tigers to slip up and lose more than once. Another loss would definitely end the Cutters' season.

"We're certainly not going to throw in the towel," Williams said. "All is not lost and that's the way we're viewing it."