Mackay Cutters player Tyler Gardiner (left) watches on from the sideline during Saturday's trial against the Townsville Blackhawks in Bowen.
Mackay Cutters player Tyler Gardiner (left) watches on from the sideline during Saturday's trial against the Townsville Blackhawks in Bowen.

Cutters youngsters upstage veterans in first trial

THE MACKAY Cutters have some wrinkles in attack to iron out between now and Round 1.

That was coach Michael Crawley's assessment following Saturday's 24-12 trial loss to the Townsville Blackhawks in Bowen.

After the U18 and 20s Cutters both bested their North Queensland rivals earlier in the day, the Queensland Cup Cutters struggled to get much going with the ball in their hands against a Blackhawks outfit missing the bulk of its starters.

"We didn't control possession well. I think our first four possessions we lost the ball," Crawley said.

"That was the tale of the tape. We spent a lot of time defending and the more you do that, the more you leave yourself open to make bad decisions when you get tired.

"I thought the second group, the younger group, controlled possession a lot better. They did a better job than our experienced group, which turned the ball over in possession a bit more."

Prior to the trial, Crawley welcomed the opportunity to get a first look at his playing group in a competitive hitout.

Despite the frustrations in attack, the new coach said he and the team would ultimately be better for the run.

"I got a lot out of it as a coach. I think the boys at the end of the game were glad for the run, too," Crawley said.

 

Mackay Cutters coach Michael Crawley surveys the field ahead of the trial against the Townsville Blackhawks in Bowen on Saturday.
Mackay Cutters coach Michael Crawley surveys the field ahead of the trial against the Townsville Blackhawks in Bowen on Saturday.

 

Young guns Rayden Burns, Joshua Smith and Jye Anderson impressed Crawley enough for him to confirm the group would travel to Rockhampton in a fortnight for the final pre-season run, against the CQ Capras.

"They've trained well the whole way through and earned that opportunity," he said.

"We have a young squad. Jayden (Hodges) our captain is 29 and then there's a bit of a gap to the next.

"There's a lot of youth in our squad and with that sometimes comes errors. But we've got to make sure we tidy that up and be better."

Walter Lauenstein left with an ankle complaint and Zev John a head knock, but otherwise the Cutters came through unscathed.

Crawley thanked the Bowen faithful for welcoming the club to town.

"It was a chance for our boys to see a bit of regional Queensland. It was a bit different to what some are used to, coming from Sydney," he said.