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Last night a clearly defined pathway for junior development was signed off on by the Mackay Junior Rugby League.

In partnership with the Absolute Mackay Cutters, young rugby league players will now enter an Academy program that provides participants with a potential pathway right through to the top levels of the game.

The program starts with non competitive age groups (Under 11 and 12’s) and extends right through to Under 18 where players have the opportunity to play in the state wide Mal Meninga Cup.

Mackay Junior Chairman Barry Blanchfield said the Academy program was the best way forward for the development of our young players.

“It is a great program and it will incorporate the Juniors, Seniors, Cutters and also utilise the NRL Development staff.  The idea is to encourage participation in the game in the early years before tapering the groups that will ultimately form the Mackay representative teams,” Mr Blanchfield said.

The program will be overseen by Mackay Cutters head coach Kim Williams as well as strength and conditioning coach Mitch Cook.  Local coaches and support staff will also be required to fill key roles.

“The program is very much about developing Cutters players of the future," Mackay Cutters CEO Glenn Ottaway said. 

"It is naive the think that everyone can make a career out of the game but we hope this shows young players that there are opportunities in Mackay to develop as a player.  A lot of effort has gone in to putting the program together and we have modelled to content on the elite programs run by the Cowboys, while also incorporating our core values as a club.”  

“It is a great opportunity for local coaches as well.  They will have the opportunity to work alongside the Cutters staff and be directly responsible for running the squads in the respective age groups.”

Applications are currently being sought for staff positions.  Each age group (Under 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18) will have a coach, assistant coach, manager and FAO appointed.

Applications open tomorrow (July 16) and need to be received by August 4.

The full Academy Handbook and Application form will be available to download from tomorrow