Thursday, June 6, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

NRL Debuts For Cutters’ Rookies Jaxon Purdue And Jamal Shibasaki

MACKAY Cutters young guns Jaxon Purdue and Jamal Shibasaski have made every post a winner in the Hostplus Cup.

The 18-year-old former Queensland Schoolboys representatives realised a dream last Sunday when they marked their NRL debuts with the North Queensland Cowboys.
With the Cutters enjoying a bye, the versatile Purdue and power running forward Shibasaki were blooded in the Cowboys’ top-grade squad and made an impact in the club’s miraculous 18-16 victory over Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.

Minus the likes of Tom Dearden, Reuben Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai, Val Holmes, Murray Taulagi and Reece Robson on Origin duty, the Cowboys produced an epic second half revival to sink the Roosters and kick-start their campaign.

Purdue, a classy utility half, was rushed in to play centre after the late withdrawal of Tom Chester and grabbed his opportunity with a slick performance.

The towering Shibasaki came off the interchange bench and matched it with the much-vaunted Roosters’ forward pack.

Since graduating from St Patrick’s College Mackay’s famous sporting nursery last year, Purdue has dreamed of pulling on a Cowboys jumper in the NRL premiership.
The classy utility half is one of a batch of former St Patrick’s students contracted to the Cowboys and on the radar of coaches Todd Payten and James Maloney.

Purdue was blooded in the North Queensland top squad during a Pre-Season Challenge fixture against the Brisbane Broncos back in February where he displayed his raw pace, tricky step and silky ball skills.

That match was staged in Jaxon’s “backyard” at BB Print Stadium with the emerging rookie giving Cowboys supporters a taste of things to come. But all eyes have been on Purdue and Shibasaki in recent weeks after their strong performances for the Mackay Cutters in the Hostplus Cup competition.

Purdue has made seven appearances for the rejuvenated Cutters this season including four successive games as the run-on number seven with the strapping Shibasaki impressing officials with his barnstorming runs and rugged defence.

Michael Comerford’s new look Cutters have enjoyed mixed results to date with five wins and five losses.

With the talented playmaker and boom forward stepping up in class, Mackay officials are hopeful the first-grade team can force its way into the Hostplus Cup finals series come September.

The clever Purdue has notched five tries and two try assists and averages just under 100 running metres a game since being rushed into the Cutters’ top-grade squad.
Keen judges believe Jaxon was destined to play in the NRL since spearheading St Patrick’s College to Cowboys Challenge and Aaron Payne Cup schoolboy premiership trophies these past three seasons.

The pathway for the rising colt is crystal clear – serving a half back ‘apprenticeship’ with his beloved Cutters before pushing his claims for a Cowboys jumper on a regular basis.

After a weekend bye, the Cutters square off with Redcliffe Dolphins this Saturday at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium at 2.35pm.

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