Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Crocodiles Famous League Nursery Produces Host Of Queensland Greats

Sarina Crocodiles have a rich rugby league history in the Mackay region with some of Queensland’s modern-day legends donning the club’s famous colours in their junior days.

Maroons and Kangaroos legends Martin Bella, Wendell Sailor, Dale Shearer and Daly Cherry-Evans are famous products of the Crocodiles along with enforcer Kevin Campion and went on to carve out illustrious top-grade careers in the NSW and National Rugby League.

North Queensland Cowboys strong man Rueben Cotter – who helped Australia win the Rugby League World Cup last year – is the latest representative star off the Crocodiles’ production line to make an impact in the NRL competition.

The teak-tough Cotter also picked up the Wally Lewis Medal for Origin Player of the Year after helping Queensland defeat NSW 2-1 in this year’s interstate series.

Latest Sarina junior to earn a Queensland representative jumper is Mackay Cutters half back sensation Emily Bella, who recently guided the Maroons Under 19s Girls team to an Origin triumph over the Blues at Redcliffe.

Emily turned the game when used as an interchange hooker and caught the eye of talent scouts at the venue.

The exciting prospect is on the radar of several clubs including the Cowboys as she chases an NRLW contract and is keen to secure her immediate future.

She spent her formative junior rugby league years with the Crocodiles before joining the Walkerston Wanderers and Mackay Brothers clubs.

Emily along with her cousin Martin Bella, Sailor and Cherry-Evans attended St Patrick’s College Mackay where they all shone in their own right.

Cherry-Evans, who chalked up his 300th NRL appearance for the Manly Sea Eagles last weekend against St George-Illawarra, started his league career with the Crocodiles in the Mackay Junior League before stints with Souths Sharks and Mackay Brothers.

His father Troy Evans was a Sarina Crocodiles enforcer before developing into a ‘hardman’ for Norths Devils and Redcliffe Dolphins in the Brisbane premiership during the 1980s and 1990s.

By Chris Karas

Queensland Under 19 Origin hero Emily Bella and Mackay raised State coach Deanna Turner celebrate the Maroons’ triumph over NSW

Daly Cherry-Evans is a former St Patrick’s product who played for the Crocodiles as a junior

Reuben Cotter won the Wally Lewis Medal for Origin Player of the Year

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