The Whales stun the Stingers
UNION: Inspired by a talk at half-time, the Wide Bay Whales have started the new Bundaberg Rugby Union season in the perfect way with a win over Mackay.
Playing in the inaugural Canefields Cup at The Waves Sports Complex on Saturday a three-try burst in the opening stages of the second half set up a 40-29 win.
A late charge by the Stingers, who fought gallantly throughout, was not enough.
Captain Brendon McKeown said with just one week of training together, it was a great team effort.
"To come out and put out a performance like that shows the depth of our union (teams),” McKeown said.
"(It was) the all-round effort that we were pleased with and no one took a backward step,” he said.
After taking a four-point lead into the half-time break, McKeown said the chat at half-time was exactly what the team needed.
"It was all positive talk,” he said.
"He (Luke McCloskey) didn't say much, just wanted us to clean up on our small things.
"We didn't want to get too negative at all.”
McKeown also paid tribute to the opposition and said he hoped the match could be a yearly tradition.
Mackay forward Scott McPherson agreed and conceded the defence was not good enough.
"Wide Bay were just too good on the day,” McPherson said.
"They slowed the play the ball in the ruck and we didn't clean it enough,” he said.
With the team down by more than 20 points at one stage, McPherson praised his team for fighting back.
"After a long day of travelling it was a really good effort from the boys to put their hands up at the end,” he said.
"It was a fantastic effort for our boys to come down (to play).”
Mackay will now head into its off-season, with Wide Bay preparing for the Spring Cup season that starts on October 7.