2016 finish: Premiers
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.