Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
From the warm tropics of northern Queensland to the frosty southern temperatures of the Australian Capital Territory, at the northern tip of the Australian Alps.
That is the future lifestyle for promising St Patrick’s College rugby league forward Mark Morrow after securing a three-year NRL contract with the Canberra Raiders.
The power running forward is bound for the nation’s capital when he completes his schooling in Mackay and has already impressed Raiders officials with his natural athletic prowess, work ethic and skill set while attending a pre-season camp at the club’s headquarters in Braddon.
As the 2023 season moves into full swing, the 15-year-old Morrow is determined to make every post a winner when he trots onto the field for St Patrick’s in the region’s schoolboys competition ranks; club side Mackay Wests Tigers in the Mackay & District Junior League or the Mackay Cutters in the Under 16 Cyril Connell Cup series.
It is undeniably a heavy match schedule but one the super fit Morrow will definitely relish when the first ball is officially kicked off for the new season.
A delighted Mark described his trip to the ACT as “a memorable experience” and a valuable introduction and education on NRL operations.
“I met the Raiders NRL squad at the camp and was over the moon when Kangaroos World Cup star Jack Wighton came over and made me feel welcome,” beamed Mark.
“We had a talk about my rugby league journey to date and Jack passed on tips on how to improve my game,” he added.
The impact forward was part of a squad of 24 top juniors aged between 15 and 18 from across Queensland and NSW invited to trial with the Raiders down south.
Morrow chalks up a 10-year service milestone with his beloved Tigers this season when he lines up for the Under 16 black and golds.
He remembers playing in his first trophy decider for the Tigers back in 2017.
“We lost to the Townsville Western Lions by three tries to one (12-4) in the final of the Gorden Tallis Cup,” Mark recalled.
Mark participated in the Broncos Rugby League Academy from the age of 12 and the Cowboys Academy since turning 14 before linking with the Raiders.
He represented Capricornia at the Queensland School Sports Rugby League State Championships in Under 11s, Under 12s and Under 15s and last year also lined up at the State AFL titles as a defender.
Mark is one of the big guns in a powerful and hungry St Patrick’s Year 10 team that is on the prowl for another Cowboys Challenge Shield title.
Having tasted defeat after the bell in last year’s Challenge Grand Final this Raider in waiting is determined to get his hands on the trophy in 2023.
By Chris Karas
Emerging St Patrick’s College rugby league forward Mark Morrow will swap the sun and tropics for chilly winters when he takes up a three-year deal with the Canberra Raiders