Cutters add three crucial elements
RUGBY LEAGUE: A silky half-back, an aggressive big man, and a hard nut tackling machine.
All elements Mackay Cutters coach Steve Sheppard is excited to be bringing into the fold for 2018 with three new signings the club officially unveiled on Wednesday.
Sheppard said front-rowers in former Wests Tigers Darcy Cox and Jordan Grant, plus Canberra Raiders junior and NSW under-23 representative Jack Hickson, were specific recruiting targets and each would bring their own elements to a list looking for an injection of speed and strength.
"Darcy's tackling capabilities is why we brought him into the squad, (and) he's got great tackling technique,” Sheppard said.
"He'll add value to our defensive side, but he's also big as well. He has a defensive focus, and he's a hard nut that does all the dirty work.”
Coaching against Hickson at National Youth Competition level in the past, Sheppard said it was the Canberran's efforts against Scotland during their World Cup preparations that really caught the eye.
"I really liked his game control; he's fast, got a left foot, and doesn't mind putting his body in for a smaller bloke,” he said.
"Jordan, the big boy, gives us plenty of punch going forward.
"I've watched him play and he's very aggressive. He's got a big motor for a big man, which is really important as well.”
Under the watchful eye of Sheppard and new head of performance Alex Kertesz, the three signings hit the track on Tuesday for the QCCS Cutters' first pre-season run.
Working on speed and agility, Sheppard said he was confident his new charges would combine well with established players.
"They've (players) come back in good nick, we've got some big bodies there too which is important,” Sheppard said.
" There's a good mixture of (old and new).”
Sheppard said the list was taking shape, but wasn't finalised with the allocation of North Queensland Cowboys' players expected to be announced on Monday.
"We'll get Shane Wright (Proserpine) and Mitch Dunn (Mackay). They're two boys we know we've got locked in, but the others, we'll have to see,” he said.
"We've got 25 quality players, but where we need to fill, we will. The World Cup's on, there's boys there that don't play professionally that could pop up.”