Thursday, September 14, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Brothers Bulldogs Juniors Secure NRL Contracts

Development and Mackay Brothers Junior Rugby League Club go hand in hand.

Having just completed one of their most successful campaigns in the Mackay Junior League in recent years, the Bulldogs continue to unearth an exciting crop of talent through its renowned development program.

It was a season to savour for the Brothers Juniors who annexed the Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 age premierships; the Under 14 Boys Plate; Junior Club Championship Shield plus the Ivan Bradford Trophy for most teams on Grand Final Day.

Both Bulldogs’ Under 16 Boys teams reached the semi-finals while the Under 14 Girls side made a Grand Final appearance for the first time.

“We are big on development as a club and how many kids we have playing rugby league” revealed Brothers Juniors President Andrew Battaia.

“Our aim each season is to do all we can to keep our squads progressing through the ranks” he said.

The Bulldogs development program is reaping plenty of dividends.

Six junior Brothers products – back rower Kayne Smith (North Queensland Cowboys), utility half Adam McSherry (Broncos), second rower Jake Bryan (Newcastle Knights), lock Declan Grady (Cowboys), half back Grange Womal (Gold Coast Titans) and centre Norm Campbell (Cowboys) – have signed NRL contracts.

Another three Bulldogs juniors in talented five eighth Flynn Battaia, prop Isaiah Wilson and hooker Cooper Deguara have been invited to trial with the Titans Under 16s in Ipswich at the end of the month.

The skilful Battaia was the Cutters’ top points scorer in this year’s Cyril Connell Cup and has a sound kicking game while the crafty Deguara led St Patrick’s College to Cowboys Challenge Shield and North Queensland Regional titles.

Wilson was drafted into the Bulldogs Under 17s and scored a try double in the club’s 22-12 Grand Final triumph over Souths Sharks.

President Battaia says the Brothers motto is “development takes precedence over premierships.”

“The development work implemented over the past decade by the likes of former Coaching Coordinators Heath Cruckshank and Steve Deardon (father of Cowboys and Origin playmaker Tom Deardon) and current co-ordinator Gary Bassett has reaped plenty of rewards,” a proud Battaia enthused.

Andrew also pointed to the Brothers’ success in the senior ranks with the A Grade Women lifting the trophy and the men's Under 20 and A Grade teams reaching Grand Finals against the Magpies.

“This shows the pathway to the Leprechauns for our junior players which has kept the club in good stead,” he added.

The Brothers Juniors major award winners for 2023 include Player of the Year – Jake Bryan (Under 17s); Most Promising Player – Grange Womal (Under 15s); Club Captain 2024 – Isaiah Wilson (Under 16s/17s) and Representative Player of Year – Toby Woodall (Under 16s).

Brothers Bulldogs players and officials display their Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 Mackay Junior League premiership trophies

Jubilant Brothers Bulldogs players celebrate their Under 15s premiership victory over Moranbah Miners at the Mackay Junior League Grand Finals at BB Print Stadium

In other news