No win but signs are good
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Absolute Enterprises Mackay Cutters haven't yet notched a win this pre-season but that hasn't dampened coach Kim Williams' attitude.
Williams said he wasn't overly concerned with the 22-20 scoreline against the Northern Pride at the weekend. He said the team's performance was more important and he was pleased with what he saw.
The game also gave Williams a chance to have a look at new recruit Doug Hewitt, who will join the Cutters full-time after spending the pre-season with the North Queensland Cowboys on a train-and-trial deal.
He filled the shoes of halfback Tom Rouse, who was left out of the weekend's squad at doctors' requests after being knocked out last weekend against the Cowboys' under-20s
"He (Hewitt) was good; he just jumped in where Tom would've been on the right-hand side," he said.
"He was very good directing play, his kicking game especially."
Fullback Liam Taylor also made his return after an operation on his knee before Christmas.
"He probably played about 35 minutes and he was good," Williams said.
"He didn't show any negative signs; he looked as though he was confident in his knee. It's always a mental struggle coming back from that sort of thing."
After last weekend's disappointing loss to the Cowboys' under-20s, Williams said he was pleased the squad took what he had said on board and produced a good performance.
Being another of the Intrust Super Cup's strongest sides, the close result against the Pride gave Williams a good indicator of where the squad was at as they prepare for the opening round against Easts Tigers on March 1.
"The fact that we scored an equal amount of tries, that's probably a good indicator of how the game went," Williams said.
"This trial last year, the Pride gave us a bit of a touch-up, so we're a long way ahead of where we were 12 months ago. It's a big jump forward from last week as well, so I think we're heading in the right direction.
"It's all about preparing for the first round now."