Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Mackay Players Shine In U19 State of Origin Debuts

QCCS Mackay Cutters players Jaxon Purdue, Jamal Shibasaki, and Mutua Brown were set to make their debuts in the U19 Queensland Origin squad yesterday, June 20th, at Leichhardt Oval. The time of print for this publication was prior to Thursday.

In an exciting development, Queensland Rugby League recently announced the Queensland Under 19 men's squad, featuring standout talents from the Mackay Cutters. Jaxon Purdue and Jamal Shibasaki made their National Rugby League debuts for the North Queensland Cowboys earlier this month, bringing their top-grade experience to the interstate clash against New South Wales.

Purdue and Shibasaki joined an impressive squad that has excelled in the Mal Meninga Cup and Hostplus Cup throughout the 2024 season. Head coach Ben Te’o, assisted by Darius Boyd, Jesse Maclean, and Nathan Small, has prepared the team meticulously, drawing on the expertise of a highly experienced performance staff and mentors, including FOG Matt Gillett. The squad began their camp on the Gold Coast last Friday, setting the stage for their standout performances.

The women's U19 Queensland Origin squad also saw exceptional representation from Mackay, with Ebony Raftstrand-Smith, Lily Peacock, and Paityne Johns selected to play in yesterday's match. These players were part of a formidable team that included eight members from Queensland’s victorious Under 19 team in 2023. Raftstrand-Smith, Peacock, and Johns brought forward the skills and resilience honed through their participation in the BMD Premiership and Harvey Norman Under 19 competitions.

Under the guidance of coach Deanna Turner and assistants Mitch Sargent and Maia Tua-Davidson, the women's squad entered their camp on the Gold Coast last Friday, ensuring they were well-prepared for the fierce competition. Peacock and Jorgensen, who also have NRLW experience, brought additional depth and leadership to the team.

The performances of Purdue, Shibasaki, Raftstrand-Smith, Peacock, and Johns highlight the exceptional talent emerging from Mackay and the crucial role the region plays in developing future rugby league stars.

Jaxon Purdue was one of the Mackay Cutters players selected in the U19 State of Origin squad. Photo credit: Mackay Cutters

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