Thursday, October 5, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Life can’t get any better for Mackay Cutters iron woman Shannon Mato after powerhouse performances on the rugby league field in 2023.
The dual code international – who was part of the Jillaroos’ World Cup-winning squad in the United Kingdom - has experienced a bumper season in the women’s ranks since leading the Cutters to the BMD Premiership semi finals back in May.
Front rower Mato helped Queensland clinch an Origin series against the NSW Blues before helping the Gold Coast Titans reach the NRLW Grand Final at Sydney’s Accor Stadium.
The 25-year-old prop turned in a strong display in the Titans’ 22-18 loss to the Newcastle Knights – racking up 250 running metres and getting through a mountain of defence in an epic tussle.
It was just another non-stop effort from the former Wallaroo and Queensland Reds forward who transitioned to rugby league in 2020.
Mato has come a long way since winning a premiership with the Brisbane Broncos in her debut season in the NRLW before linking with the Titans.
She was a stand out for the Maori All Stars and for North Sydney in the NSW Harvey Norman Womens Premiership but has prospered in Queensland with stints at Tweed Seagulls in 2022 and in Mackay this year.
A mobile forward with a high work rate, Matto was one of the best on ground in the Cutters’ heartbreaking 22-18 loss to eventual champions Burleigh Bears in the BMD Women’s Premiership.
Her non-stop performances were rewarded these past two seasons with Shannon receiving back-to-back Titans’ NRLW Player of the Year Awards and recognition from her peers with the Players’ Player trophy.
Mato underlined her status as one of the competition’s best middle forwards when she was named Prop of the Year and in the NRLW Team of the Year at the recent Dally M Awards at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse.
The Mackay warrior will cap a memorable 2023 with selection in the Jillaroos squad for the Pacific Rugby League Championships opener against the Kiwi Ferns on October 14
at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium.