Thursday, June 27, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Local Talent Boost For Coach Comerford’s Young Cutters Lineup

Mackay Cutters rugby league Head Coach Michael Comerford has a sharp eye for talent.

When the Cutters and North Queensland Cowboys renewed their Hostplus Cup partnership for the 2024 season the respected mentor had no hesitation in drafting 18-year-old young guns Jaxon Purdue and Xavier Kerrisk into his top-grade squad.

The astute Comerford was well aware of the duo’s natural ability and skill set having coached the former Queensland Schoolboys representatives during his teaching days at St Patrick’s College Mackay.

Both players are two of the Cowboys’ brightest prospects with first-grade rookie Purdue shining on his NRL debut in a courageous win over the Roosters and for the Under 19 Maroons in last week’s 14-10 Origin loss to NSW at Leichhardt Oval.

Purdue has scored five tries in six appearances for the Cutters this season before earning a promotion to the NRL ranks.

Comerford has now introduced rising hooker Kerrisk into his Hostplus Cup squad as an interchange player after the number nine’s outstanding form for the Cutters in the Under 19s Mal Meninga Cup.

Central Queensland Capras produced a rousing second-half display to sink the Cutters 30-18 last Saturday in their Rivalry Round clash at Rugby Park Rockhampton.

Trailing 8-6 at the break the Capras, led by former Broncos NRL star Anthony Milford, stunned their rivals with a four-try blitz that turned the match.

Journeyman winger Edrick Lee – who has had NRL stints with Canberra, Cronulla, Newcastle and the Dolphins – dashed over to score straight after the interval before interchange prop Zev John and centre Cooper Marshall crossed for tries to extend the seventh-placed Capras lead to 24-8.

Mackay lock and skipper Sean Mullany responded with a vital try after 62 minutes that was converted by half-back Riley Dean before interchange prop Brandon Russell crashed over for a late try to give the Cutters a glimmer of hope.

The experienced Milford – riddled with hamstring concerns during his time at the Redcliffe Dolphins – broke the Cutters hearts when he posted the Capras fifth try seconds later to seal a crucial victory for the home side.

Mackay turned in a solid first half showing with winger Dario Takitaki scooting over for the opening try of the match after eleven minutes and playmaker Dean adding the extras.

The Cutters number seven gave his side an 8-0 lead when he potted a 36th-minute penalty goal before flying winger Bob Tenza grabbed a four-pointer for Central Queensland on the stroke of halftime.

Mackay faces another tough task this Saturday when they tackle premiership pacesetters Northern Pride at Barlow Park Cairns from 3pm.

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