THE footy is back! Mackay residents are just over one week away from enjoying the most exciting pre-season build up for the Cutters in their short history.

Starting with the might of the St George Illawarra Dragons on Saturday, January 31, the Cutters will then host the NQ Cowboys Under 20 side on February 7 as the curtain-raiser to the Cowboys v Broncos NRL trial.

The Cutter’s final trial will then be played at Sarina where they will host their traditional Intrust Super Cup rivals the Central Capras.

This will be the first time that Mackay has hosted three NRL teams in the space of two weekends, and the Cutters can’t wait to be a part of such a fantastic season build-up.

Coach Kim Williams is delighted with the opportunity to play the Dragons as their first hit-out for 2015.

“We have selected our strongest possible squad available to us at the moment for this game,” Williams said.

“We are honoured to host the Dragons in Mackay and we are very keen to show our fans that we are in for a big year, starting with this game against the NRL powerhouse. “

Cutters squad v Dragons

1.       Sam Clune

2.       Jordan Pereira

3.       Nico Mataia

4.       Justin Tavae

5.       Buchanan Rawhiti

6.       Jardine Bobongie

7.       Rex Johnson

8.       Pulou Vaituutuu

9.       Michael Sio

10.   Brad Lupi

11.   Kelvin Nielsen

12.   Tyson Martin

13.   Chris Gesch

14.   Andy Gay

15.   Damon Koolstra

16.   Aleki Falepaini

17.   Mitch Day

18.   Josh Osborne

19.   Ryan Kinlyside

20.   Zack Walker

21.   Joss Boyton

The Dragons are using this game and the Auckland Nines as preparation for their Charity Shield match against the Rabbitohs the following week, so their players will be highly motivated to make a positive first impression on the coaching staff during this game.

They have named an impressive squad to take on the Cutters including local boy Dane Nielsen, and regular NRL stars Gareth Widdop, Trent Merrin, Dylan Farrell, George Rose, Mitch Rein and Kris Keating.

Tickets are still available for the Cutters v Dragons game through the MECC.

There are also some great lead-up games to look forward to with the Cutters Under 18 v Souths Mackay 18 sides to face off, as well as Souths Mackay A-Grade v Moranbah.

Grab a ticket and come down for a great day of footy to kick-off the new season!

Dragons line-up v Mackay Cutters

1. Matt Dufty (NYC)
2. Charly Runciman
3. Dane Nielsen
4. Dylan Farrell
5. Tyrone Cranston (Illawarra Cutters)
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Drew Hutchison
8. Leeson Ah Mau
9. Mitch Rein
10. Rory O’Brien
11. Jake Marketo
12. Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard
13. Trent Merrin
14. Kris Keating
15. Heath L’Estrange
16. George Rose
17. Rulon Nutira
18. Tekina Vailea (Illawarra Cutters)
19. Nathan Smith (Illawarra Cutters)
20. Geoff Daniela (Illawarra Cutters)
21. Andrew McCarthy (Illawarra Cutters)

Read about the Dragons preparations on their website: Dragons to Ignite pre-season in Mackay