Courtesy of the Mackay Daily Mercury
CENTRAL Comets inflicted plenty of pain on the Mackay Cutters in their Queensland Cup trial match at Tiger Park on Saturday night.
The 28-12 defeat was made worse by a potentially season-ending injury to second-rower Kailyb Gray as the home side was doing it tough in the second half.
Gray, 21, who played the last four years with Ipswich Jets, suffered a knee injury under a heavy tackle and Cutters operations manager Jamie McDonald said he feared the worst. “The doctor thinks he may have a form of ligament tear,” McDonald said. “It's a potentially season-ending injury.”
A big crowd estimated at 1200 packed the Wests home ground for the match, keen to support the STM Cutters after a 30-18 win over Easts Tigers in their first trial last weekend. But in what coach Shane Muspratt called a “reality check” for the Cutters, the Comets ran away with it after a close first half.
Co-captain Jardine Bobongie opened the scoring, running hard and straight onto a short ball down the blind side from hooker Roy Baira. The Comets equalised with a clever try set up with a chip behind the defence by halfback Damien Major, before two tries in two minutes either side of halftime had the Cutters down 18-6, playing catch-up and dropping too much ball.
Another giveaway try from a spilled ball on the Cutters line had the Comets in charge at 22-6, before centre Royston Lightning swooped on a dropped bomb by halfback Todd Seymour to give some respectability to the score. But the Comets scored on the bell for a 28-12 scoreline.
“It's a bit of a reality check for our guys,” Muspratt said. “Last week we played well and got congratulations and pats on the back in the media. “I was disappointed that that probably cost us our mental edge this week.” Muspratt said he was impressed by the work of powerful forward Josh Rovelli, who played most of the match.
The Cutters are trying to organise a trial against a prospective Sea Eagles Foley Shield outfit next weekend, ahead of their first match of the season on March 14 against Ipswich.
Comets 28 (Nat Bowman 2, Junior Auru, Ian Webster, Anthony Raymond tries; Nat Bowman 4 goals) d Cutters 12 (Royston Lightning, Jardine Bobongie tries; Daniel Abraham 2 goals).