Daily Mercury - - TV GUIDE LIFE - Daniel McKen­zie

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 yes­ter­day.

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.”


IN WITH THE NEW: Jor­dan Grant (Wests Tigers), Darcy Cox (Wests Tigers), and Jack Hick­son (Wo­den Val­ley Rams), at BB print Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day.

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