Cutters ready to take the big stage against Tweed

Round 6 of the Hastings Deering Colts kicks off tomorrow night (Friday, April 12) with the Mackay Cutters going up against Tweed Seagulls at 1300SMILES Stadium as a curtain-raiser to the North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm NRL game in what is set to be a packed stadium.

Mackay coach and past player Michael Comerford spoke about his team’s motivation for this weekend and his own transition from being a player with the club from 2008-2013 to being a coach of their young team this season.

“It is going to be a good contest as Tweed have momentum after their draw last weekend and we have been looking to bounce back after having back-to-back loses against two very tough teams in the Cup; Wynnum and Townsville,” Comerford said.

“Although we are not playing at our traditional home ground this round, the opportunity to play this Friday night before the Cowboys and the hype around it has the boys very excited.

“We were fortunate to have the opportunity in Townsville last weekend to play before the Cowboys took on the Raiders which was also a great opportunity.

“We are looking to improve our game management from the previous two rounds; as when we took on the Blackhawks, we had a few opportunities to get back into the game and it was important to stay composed in those crucial moments especially with the scores level with 10 minutes to go.

“Last round, we had a strong 14-0 lead over Wynnum which we unfortunately let slip.”

However, Comerford knows he has the players to turn things around.

“Garrett Smith and Walter Lauenstein, who are in our Intrust Super Cup squad at the Cutters, have been putting forward some strong paces and having a great attitude about everything they do,” he said.

“Our captain, Brenden White has been a big part of any success we have had this season and is a massive influence for us on the field with the amount of work he gets through being phenomenal.

“It is like having another coach on the field with the amount of work he gets through, in the last two weeks alone making over 40 tackles.”

Comerford himself knows what it is like to be under pressure on the field having retired from playing in 2013 after back to back knee reconstructions and ACL ruptures.

“At that point I was only 24, but I was pretty clear in my mind that I didn’t want to play anymore and was completely comfortable that I wasn’t able to play anymore when the decision was taken out of my hands,” Comerford said.   

“In terms of my football knowledge and how the game’s played, I have learnt a large amount from (Cutters Intrust Super Cup coach) Steve Sheppard, meeting him through the Souths Sharks and having the opportunity to work under him for the 2017 season.

“Last preseason, I was still with the Intrust Super Cup team until a late change at the last minute with the coaching staff.

“This team has been one of the most satisfying teams I have been a part of and worked hard and hopefully we see the rewards of that this season.

“We have a really tight team that love training, playing and travelling together and having the opportunity to coach them is something I enjoy and love doing.”

Elsewhere in Round 6 of the Hastings Deering Colts – the Bears host the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, the Blackhawks take on the Dolphins, the Pride face the Magpies, Western Mustangs travel to play the CQ Capras in Emerald, the Falcons are at home against the Tigers and the Ipswich Jets take on the Devils at North Ipswich Reserve in the final match of the round.