Mackay Cutters announce 2018 leadership team

1 February 2018

Mackay Cutters announce 2018 leadership team

Nearing the end of one of the most intense pre-seasons and with only five weeks to go before round one kick off, the Mackay Cutters are delighted to announce their leadership line up for 2018.

Tom Murphy will Captain the Cutters alongside his deputies Jayden Hodges and Jack Joass.

Head coach Steve Sheppard made the announcement to the team before their player performance workshop on Tuesday evening.



QCCS Leads the Mackay Cutters into the Future

Mackay Cutters’ principal partnership with local contracting company QCCS will surge ahead into the future following the signing of a renewed agreement.

The region’s QRL team became the QCCS Mackay Cutters at the start of the 2017 season, and that proud association will continue after a new multi-year partnership was struck. This will extend QCCS’s commitment to the end of the 2019 season.

Mackay Cutters CEO Troy Rovelli was on hand at the clubs 10 Year Anniversary luncheon to announce the renewed partnership.

“For us to be successful on the field, we need strong support off the field, and at the Cutters we’re blessed to have committed partners like QCCS.” Rovelli said.

QCCS general manager Craig Bogaarts said the extended partnership highlighted the shared values of the two entities, with community engagement and mental health a high priority.

“We see every day what the Mackay Cutters mean to our local rugby league town, and we’re so proud to be associated with a team so highly regarded and respected in the area in which they operate.”

“With such initiatives as Change the Game – the mental health campaign which helps promote the awareness of the Mackay Regional Suicide Prevention Network – we can leverage off each other to benefit the wider community and this renewed partnership will only strengthen that connection.”

Mr Rovelli said the longevity of QCCS’s principal sponsorship of the Cutters was a clear sign that each partner deeply values the ethos, values and community focus of the other.

“Fruitful partnerships are borne out of a win-win arrangement,” Mr Rovelli said.

“That’s certainly the case here. Each organisation is enormously proud of the partnership, and that’s because it’s a perfect fit in such a connected, committed and passionate community.

“QCCS helps us continue to run our club at a high level and to effectively reach more people with our community engagement programs.”

Mr Bogaarts said his entire organisation was very supportive of the partnership.

“The Cutters have a great culture and we look forward to them doing very well in the years to come.”

QCCS are a local Mackay company who provide precast, concrete remediation and civil construction services to the mining and infrastructure industries throughout Queensland.

Cutters too slick for Pride in Thriller

The QCCS Mackay Cutters kept their hopes of an Intrust Super Cup Finals campaign alive with an entertaining 26-18 victory over the Northern Pride at Barlow Park in Cairns.

Despite much of the game being played in a tropical rainstorm, both teams opted to play fast and expansive football, with the Cutters holding out the resurgent Pride in what became a thrilling contest.

Fresh of a club-record victory, Mackay showed their intent early when Kellen Jenner turned defence into attack, fielding an attacking kick in his own in goal and racing 50m before being dragged down.

The play eventually resulted in a repeat set and the Cutters took the opportunity to get on the board first, with Yamba Bowie showing his stunning athleticism to squeeze in the corner after latching onto a brilliant cut-out pass from Nicho Hynes.

The visitors doubled their lead a short time later as Nick Brown got an offload out the back to his support runner in Cooper Bambling. The halfback slipped then through the Pride defence and under the posts.

Ball handling was at a premium midway through the half as the rain intensified, and the Pride were forced to rue a missed opportunity to respond as they dropped the ball cold deep in Mackay territory.

The visitors showed the hosts how it was done on the ensuing set, with beautiful ball movement seeing Jack Joass send Bowie away for his second try with a slick in-out ball; the winger evading the Pride defenders in a 40m dash to the line.

The Pride were finally able hit back in the shadows of halftime, with Nathan Wales grounding a perfectly weighted grubber kick to start the hosts’ resurgence as they headed for the sheds trailing 18-4.

Buoyed by a passionate home crowd who had braved the conditions, the Pride burst out of the blocks in the second half determined to get back into the contest.

Kienan Grogan-Hayes got the Pride rolling with a freakish try, regathering a ricocheted grubber kick out on the wing and planting the ball down millimetre-perfect in the corner.

The Cutters edged themselves ahead with a penalty goal to extend the lead to 10, but Graham Clark brought the Pride back into the contest once more as he powered his way under the posts.

Mackay had proven the better team at handling the greasy conditions, but they were eventually caught out when Jack Joass lost the ball in a solid tackle in his own in-goal for Shawn Bowen to plant the ball down for a try on debut, bringing the Pride to within two points of the lead.

But once again, the conditions got the better of the home side, with the Pride spilling the ball with one-minute remaining.

Aaron Booth then struck one last blow, scoring with a trick play from the resulting scrum as the crafty hooker sliced up the middle of the park and under the posts to remain unbeaten in their past four games.


By John Bartley

Cutters steal last-gasp win over gritty Gulls

THE QCCS Mackay Cutters have snatched a thrilling last-second victory over the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls in a bruising encounter at BB Print Stadium. Both teams showcased their physicality in defence for much of the contest, but it was Mackay’s determination in attack that ultimately paved the way for their 20-14 victory.

The Cutters were presented with an early attacking opportunity after the Seagulls conceded a penalty, and they made the visitors pay as a great cut-out pass found the chest of Nicho Hynes to give the home team the lead.

Mackay’s next try was a little more unconventional as they achieved the rare feat of winning the ball against the feed with a big push in the scrum, attaining possession of the football deep in attacking territory and spreading it wide to Yamba Bowie who crossed in the corner to double their lead.

Wynnum-Manly managed to turn the tide of momentum briefly and get themselves back in the contest with a beautiful play down the short side, a perfectly weighted chip kick finding the arms of a flying Daniel Ogden who touched down to bring the visitors within striking distance.

But Mackay made sure they held the ascendancy going into the second half as Bowie bagged his second try right on the stroke of halftime as some hot-potato passing got him around the Seagulls defence and scoring out wide to send the home team to the sheds leading 12-6.

The second half saw attacking chances dry up for both sides as open attack gave way to physical defence as the forward packs set about their tasks. Mackay were limited to a penalty goal to open the scoring for the second stanza, pushing their lead out to eight.

The Seagulls continued to press and consistently found themselves poking their noses through on the Mackay flanks as the hosts desperately tried to hold firm. But with the Cutters tiring the Seagulls eventually struck, Mitch Cronin strolling through untouched on some lazy Mackay defence to leave his team trailing by two.

Then, with just under ten minutes to go, the Cutters conceded a penalty deep in their own half, and with an invitation too good to refuse Wynnum-Manly duly slotted the penalty goal to level the scores and set up a frantic final few minutes.

With last week’s inexplicable loss still fresh in their minds, Mackay dug deep for one final effort as the clock bled down to the dying seconds; and as the Cutters bombarded the withering Seagulls defensive line, Braden Uele seized his moment and steamed onto an offload that saw him burst into open space and score beside the posts to win the game for the Cutters, leaving his exhausted opponents strewn across the park in his wake.

Cutters shocked by resurgent Bears

ROUND 12 – MATCH REPORT Sat 27 May 2017
THE Burleigh Bears have produced one of the finest second half performances in the club’s history to seal a stunning come-from-behind victory over the QCCS Mackay Cutters at BB Print Stadium. Mackay looked to have the game wrapped up by halftime before a spectacular turn of momentum saw Burleigh overwhelm the hosts and take out a 34-28 victory.
The hosts got onto the front foot early as a Nico Hynes grubber kick was grounded by Mackay Captain Andrew Davey, before denying the Bears an equaliser a short time later as Jack Joass’ splendid cover tackle forced the ball carrier into touch.
Nathan Saumalu found himself heading for the sin bin as tempers flared between the teams, but despite being shorthanded the Cutters still managed to extend their lead as a Yambaa Bowie grubber kick was pounced on by Hynes.
Henare Wells illegally denied Mackay another try, and found himself headed to the sin bin for a professional foul as a penalty goal extended the Cutters lead to 14, before Aaron Booth crossed for Mackay’s third try as he grounded a loose ball in the Burleigh in goal.
The Bears cracked the Cutters defensive line at the latest possible opportunity, Paterika Vaivai crashing over from close range on the stroke of halftime to give the visitors a glimmer of hope as they headed to the sheds.
Mackay started the second half in style, Cooper Bambling scooping up a wayward Bears pass and racing clear, before working the ball through the hands out for Saumalu to finish off a length of the field team try.
Burleigh would soon turn the game on its head as a wave of momentum got them right back in the contest. Vaivai got his second try of the night crashing over from close range, before sloppy Mackay defence had Patrick Politoni scything up the middle and linking with Wells to score Burleigh’s second try in just over a minute.
Kurtis Rowe then showed his strength and athleticism, holding off several Mackay cover tacklers to plant the ball down in the left corner, racking up Burleigh’s 16th point in the space of a mere five minutes on the stunned locals.
Saumalu scored his second try of the night, leaping high and getting the ball down inside the touchline to momentarily stem the flow of points against the hosts, but Politoni would soon snare an offload and stroll through a gaping hole in the Cutters defence, levelling the game at 28-all.
The Bears would then complete their remarkable comeback, taking the lead late in the game as a pinpoint cross-field bomb found the arms of Troy Leo who spun his way over the line.
It would leave the Cutters with one final throw of the dice, but the ball fell to the turf as they pressured the Bears line, and Burleigh would wrap up their third win of the season, leaving Mackay searching for answers after an almighty collapse.

Mackay Cutters’ Change the Game makes first donation to Mental Health Unit

THE MACKAY Hospital Foundation was proud to recently partner with the QCCS Mackay Cutters Change the Game initiative implemented in 2017 by the Cutters. Change the Game sees the Cutters wearing the Mackay Regional Suicide Prevention Network logo on their jerseys and is predominantly placed across their hearts.

$1 from every ticket sold to the Cutters home game on Sunday 30th April against Norths Devils was donated to the Mackay Hospital Foundation for the Mental Health Unit at the Mackay Base Hospital.

Cutters CEO Troy Rovelli said he was proud to be able to make this donation to the Mental Health Unit. “Thanks to the sponsors of our Change the Game initiative we are able to make this donation. Mental Health is something that is close to our hearts here at the Cutters and it is a part of our fabric in 2017.”

The Mackay Hospital Foundation also attended the home game, with a significant presence at the Cutters Community Corner and selling raffle tickets to generate further funding for the Mental Health Unit at the Base Hospital.

Approximately $1100 was raised from ticket sales to the game and this generous donation will be presented to Michael Jones, Mackay Hospital Foundation Board Chair by Troy Rovelli, Mackay Cutters CEO.

Mackay Hospital Foundation Board Chair, Michael Jones, said the donation was warmly welcomed by Mackay Base Hospital and acknowledged the importance of the Change the Game initiative.

“Our local community deserves the best of care when they are sick, particularly with mental health being such a major concern for young people.

The Mackay Hospital Foundation welcomes any funds raised to assist with purchasing vital equipment and resources for our local hospitals within the Mackay Hospital and Health Service districts.

Round 5 – Match Report

THE QCCS Mackay Cutters have been left licking their wounds after a tough outing against a classy PNG Hunters outfit. The Cutters were looking to impress in front of a bumper home crowd at BB Print Stadium after their last-start win over Wynnum-Manly; but a combination of fundamental errors and the inability to suppress the flamboyant attacking style of the PNG Hunters saw the home team crumble to a 36-16 defeat.

The Hunters got off to a flying start with Nixon Putt selling a dummy and shooting through a gap in the Mackay defensive line before evading several cover tacklers to score untouched beside the posts.

Mackay responded in dazzling fashion a short time later as Cooper Bambling toed ahead a wayward Hunters pass and soccered the ball downfield before regathering and offloading to Jordan Pereira who steamed into the clear and scored in the corner.

The joy was short lived for the home side as the Hunters’ flying fullback Bland Abavu made his presence felt, bagging two quick-fire tries for himself off the back of some excellent ball movement and second phase play from his PNG team mates that left Mackay’s defence in tatters.

Nico Hynes bought Mackay back within touching distance as the halftime siren sounded, a quick show and go had him touching down beside the uprights to send the Cutters to the sheds down by eight.

The Hunters’ razzle-dazzle attacking raid continued after the break as the Cutters defence began to fall away, Karo Kauna Jr. finding his way to the line as the muddy field conditions began to take a toll on Mackay’s big men.

PNG began to expose Mackay’s defence around the ruck area, and eventually they poked their noses through, an around the corner pass finding a flying Moses Meninga and he bustled his way over to extend the margin to 20 points.

The Cutters had been guilty of shooting themselves in the foot on several occasions over the course of the contest, and a dropped ball deep in their own half was all that was required for the Hunters to make them pay, Watson Boas scooping the ball up in full flight and scoring the sixth try of the evening for PNG.

With the biggest crowd of the season behind them the Cutters dug in for one last effort, Johnny Faletagoa’i finding his way to the line in the final seconds of the game for a consolation try, but the Hunters had well and truly done enough in consigning Mackay to their third defeat of the season, while two valuable competition points ensured PNG stayed in touch with the Intrust Super Cup’s competition leaders.

By: John Bartley


Restoring pride in Mackay

When a team representing the proud people of Mackay goes through a season winning only four games of footy, it’s not only the players, officials and fans who hurt; the whole community feels it.

Their wooden spoon finish in 2016 was the Cutters’ worst since joining the Intrust Super Cup in 2008 – but a change in the coaching staff and the addition of a former Kiwi international has re-energised the sense of hope within Mackay’s football community.

Defeating Tweed Heads 38-6 in their first home game of the year at BB Print Stadium last week didn’t hurt either.

Troy Rovelli has only been in the role of Cutters CEO for the past 12 months, but has been a Mackay local for most of his life and knows the role the team’s success plays in the atmosphere around the town.

“It’s a footy town, there’s no two ways about that and when the footy team is doing well, it just seems to bring a lot of confidence to industry in Mackay in general,” Rovelli said ahead of his side’s clash with the Blackhawks in Townsville this Saturday.

“Mackay is very community-based when it comes to their footy team and if their footy team is more than competitive and win their home games; that puts a whole different slant on the Mackay and district area.

“We’re not promising to put silverware in the cupboard or anything silly like that, but there’s a different air around the place.”

Along with new coach Steve Sheppard, one of the key signings for the Cutters in the off-season was former Sydney Rooster Setaimata Sa, who has returned to Australia after seven years playing in England and France.

He has begun an instrument fitting apprenticeship and has not only brought a sense of professionalism to a young side, but instilled a quiet confidence in the playing group.

Rovelli and legendary figure Arthur Beetson were the ones who recruited Sa from New Zealand to play for the Roosters more than a decade ago and he said the 29-year-old’s influence has been immediate.

“He just brings that bit of calmness,” said Rovelli.

“We’ve got a fair few 20s from the Cowboys and from around the competition and what it does is instil confidence to be brutally honest.

“They look around when they’re getting a bit flustered and Sa is really calming in that respect. He speaks softly but direct.

“He reckons he’s still got three good years in him and it’s been great that his family have found a home in Mackay and I’ve got to say that the Mackay community has really embraced him.”

If he can lead them to somewhere near the premiership success the Cutters enjoyed in 2013 they may never let him leave.

DID YOU KNOW? with Tony Webeck

Setaimata Sa played a rugby Test for Samoa before ever playing a first class rugby match. After three years with Catalans Dragons in Super League, Sa signed to play rugby with London Irish, but was chosen to represent Samoa against Canada before playing for his club side.

A former editor of Big League, Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for

Confident Cutters get big win over Seagulls

THE QCCS Mackay Cutters have ignited their 2017 Intrust Super Cup campaign with a huge victory over the Tweed Heads Seagulls at BB Print Stadium Mackay. Reshuffled during the week by coach Steve Sheppard, the new look Cutters attack got on a roll early and never looked back, as they produced a dominant second half display to put the visitors to the sword.

It was the home side under pressure early as Tweed Heads were piggybacked into Mackay territory off the back of some ill-discipline, but the Cutters showed defensive resiliency in repelling the early onslaught, and were rewarded for their efforts when they made a big break downfield and put themselves into prime position to open the scoring.

It was the Cutters left flank that got the job done as Yamba Bowie fielded a cross-field bomb and batted it down to Jordan Pereira, who in turn shrugged off a tackle and got a one-handed offload back to Bowie for the winger to score in the corner and give the home side the early lead.

The Cutters soon found themselves with all sorts of momentum as second phase play saw the Seagulls left flank being exposed time and time again, and it wasn’t long before the home side struck as Nathan Saumalu found himself on the end of some quick passing off the back of a scrum win to extend the lead further.

Aaron Booth was the next Cutter across the line as he fooled the Tweed try line defenders with a sneaky show and go, before a raft of penalties against the home side finally gave the Seagulls their first chance at points, and it was Sam Seville crashing over from close range to round out the first half, with the home side ahead 14-6.

Unbeknownst to the visitors, that was as good as it was going to get as the floodgates would soon open. Bowie picked up his second try of the night for the Cutters as he crossed in the corner off the back of a sweeping backline play early in the second half, before the mounting pressure forced a spilled bomb from the Tweed Heads fullback that Pereira happily pounced on to extend the Cutters’ lead to 20.

It was the Capitan’s turn to lead the way next, Andrew Davey slicing through the Seagulls defence from midfield with a show and go, drawing in the Seagulls fullback and linking up with Cooper Bambling on the inside to complete the sizzling 60m effort.

Then with the game in the bag and fulltime looming, the hosts delivered one more blow to their opponents with Braden Uele charging in under the posts to complete the second half rout, the Cutters coming away with a morale boosting victory, 38 points to 6.


NRL Hooker Signs with QCCS Mackay Cutters

QCCS MACKAY Cutters have secured themselves another NRL star this season with the announcement today that former Manly Warringah Sea Eagles hooker Jayden Hodges has signed a one year contract with the club.


The Cutters have inked a deal with the NRL football star as the club continues to add to the team’s strong defence this season.


The 23-year-old has a wealth of high level experience having played 14 NRL games for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys where he began his NRL career.


New Cutters coach Steve Sheppard is extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with Jayden again after previously coaching the North Queensland local in Cairns where he played for the Cairns Kangaroos.


“It’s a fantastic boost for our club to sign someone with the experience and professionalism that Jayden brings. He is a crafty hooker who understands the game well and he’s very solid in defence.


“Jayden is not only a great player he’s a great bloke too. He brings a high level of professionalism which will hopefully rub off on the group. Jayden is very driven to buy into our culture and lead our side round the park. He sees the Cutters as a genuine pathway back into the NRL system,” he said.


QCCS Mackay Cutters CEO Troy Rovelli was thankful to the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys for their assistance in bringing Jayden to the club.


“Being a North Queensland local from Cairns, the Cowboys are keen to keep a close eye on Jayden this season and we are very grateful for their assistance in bringing him to Mackay.


“We are all excited for the season ahead.  We have a strong culture this year and the boys have endured a gruelling preseason in preparation for the year ahead,” he said.