Illawarra Cut­ters

2016 fin­ish: Pre­miers

Rugby League Week - - Nsw Cup -

The coach says: Their pre­mier­ship­win­ning spine has been sev­ered, with Adam Quin­lan’s move to Hull KR, Drew Hutchi­son’s sea­so­nend­ing ACL in­jury and Josh McCrone’s likely NRL call-up. Don’t ex­pect new coach Mat Head to panic, though. He guided the Dragons un­der-20s to the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal last year, so he’s well aware of the tal­ent com­ing through. “Drew’s in­jury cer­tainly isn’t great for our first grade but for the Cut­ters we’ve got Shauny Nona, who’s com­ing back from an an­kle in­jury, Jai Field is in the NRL squad and he’s train­ing the house down. Then at full­back ‘Quinny’ was a great foot­baller but we have Matt Dufty, who comes straight out of 20s and will be play­ing at Cut­ters level if he’s not play­ing first grade.”

Player to watch: He en­dured an in­jury-dis­rupted 2016 but back­rower Jay Gal­lagher is fully fit and ready to rum­ble. “Jay’s a real hard worker who knows the game plan very well. He’ll run the footy when oth­ers won’t and he’ll be there to make that try-sav­ing tackle.”

KEY GAINS: Josh Kerr, Ad­di­son Demetriou

KEY LOSSES: Adam Quin­lan, Tom Carr, Blake Wal­lace, An­drew McCarthy

MISTER HARD YARDS Back-rower Jay Gal­lagher isn’t afraid to do the work other play­ers shirk.

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