Absolute Enterprises Mackay Cutters have announced the appointment of new head coach Steve Sheppard who will start with the club on October 1 this year on a two-year contract.

CEO Troy Rovelli said he was delighted Sheppard had accepted the role, given his level of experience.

“Steve is a born and bred North Queenslander and fully understands the unique position of the Cutters and what is takes to head up an organisation like ours,” Mr Rovelli said.

“It is an outstanding result to secure someone with his expertise in such a crucial role. Steve is a grounded young family man who has an overwhelming passion for the game.  Both he and his family will be a tremendous asset to the Mackay community and a great ambassador for Rugby League in our town.”

Sheppard, who has spent 10 years in senior coaching roles, is currently assistant coach to the North Queensland Cowboys National Youth Under 20s team who are placed second in the Holden Cup.

He has also been the assistant coach for the Queensland State of Origin Under 18 team for the past two years.

With an extensive background in youth and junior development, Sheppard’s appointment as head coach of the Mackay Cutters provides a real boost for a club focused on success through community development. 

“I’m very thankful to the board and Troy Rovelli for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with the club and the community to get results,” Sheppard said.

“Being a North Queensland local and from just down the road, I have kept a close eye on the Cutters and can see a healthy backbone in the club.  I see this club as a leader in pathways to the Intrust Super Cup and the NRL. I can’t wait to get down to work and utilise the great set up so our fans and sponsors can reap the rewards.”

Mr Rovelli said that current interim head coach Jim Wilson, would continue in this role until the end of the 2016 Intrust Super Cup season and will recommence in his former position as assistant coach for the 2017 season. 

Wilson commenced as interim head coach earlier this season following the resignation of coach David Simpson.

Mr Rovelli said that Wilson had expressed a desire to stay in his chosen profession of teaching next year.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jim Wilson on such an outstanding job as interim head coach this season.  He is a loyal Cutters man and we are privileged to have him stay on as assistant coach in 2017,” Mr Rovelli said.

“We appreciate that this season has been a tough one for our supporters, and we would like to reassure our players, our sponsors and the broader community that our club is committed to returning to our best form which saw us crowned Intrust Super Cup premiers in 2013.

 “We have great depth of coaching knowledge and experience now in place, many of whom have been with the Cutters for a number of years.  I have absolute confidence in their coaching abilities and we look forward to making our mark on the 2017 season.”