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Kangaroo catcher attributes Jets success to Outback

“If it wasn’t for the Outback pathway, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”

That is the sentiment from Ipswich Jets fullback, Michael Purcell, who has forged an esteemed career as the speedy, try-scoring whiz colloquially known as the kangaroo catcher.

His journey to being discovered by Jets chairman Steven Johnson started back in 2012 when Purcell played in his first Outback carnival.

“It started in Charleville when I first made the South West team,” the flashy back recalls.

“I remember the Ipswich chairman watching on that year and I got player of the carnival.

“I’m fairly sure word went around that I had a bit of talent and I got on their radar, but was never approached.”

Later that season, Purcell went on to play a huge part in the Outback’s 66-8 shutout of Northern Remote Areas in Mount Isa.

Michael Purcell scored three tries and was player of the match for the Outback at Thursday Island in 2015.
Michael Purcell scored three tries and was player of the match for the Outback at Thursday Island in 2015.

Working hard to receive that magic phone call, he represented the Outback again in 2013 and 2015 before his big break came in 2016.

“In the back end of 2015, I got offered to play in Toowoomba and grabbed that opportunity with both hands in the hope of getting a callup, to which I finally did, inviting me to attend pre-season training at the Jets,” he said.

“I trained hard and Ben and Shane [Walker] seemed to like the way I played, so from there, I made my debut and the rest is history.

“If it wasn’t for the Outback pathway, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Purcell isn’t the only player to have made it through the regional system.

Jets teammate Billy McConnachie also represented the Outback prior to his Intrust Super Cup career, beginning at his stomping ground, Mount Isa.

Billy McConnachie was named the 2011 Queensland Outback players' player.
Billy McConnachie was named the 2011 Queensland Outback players' player.

Players from the bush, just like Purcell, will have their chance to impress this Saturday when the 15th annual Outback Senior Muster kicks off at Alec Inch Oval, Mount Isa.

Teams from the Central West, Mid West and South West will all face off in a bid for a jersey that holds just as much prestige and respect as the iconic maroon for those who reside west of the Great Dividing Range.

Games commence at 9am with all three matches after 12.30pm live streamed on QRL.com.au and the QRL Facebook page.

 

Watch the Outback Senior Muster live from Mount Isa.

Posted by QRL - Queensland Rugby League on Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Outback Senior Muster Draw

TIME DIVISION GAME
9am A Grade Mount Isa v South West
10.30am Under 20 Northern v Southern
12.30pm A Grade Central West v South West
2pm Under 20 Northern v Southern
3.20pm A Grade Mount Isa v Central West

Past Winners

YEAR VENUE TEAM
2018 Barcaldine South West
2017 Ilfracombe South West
2016 Mitchell South West
2015 Mount Isa South West
2014 Blackall South West
2013 Hughenden South West
2012 Charleville South West
2011 Barcaldine Mid West
2010 Barcaldine Central West
2009 Barcaldine Mid West
2008 Cloncurry Central West
2007 Charleville Mid West
2006 Barcaldine Central West
2005 Mount Isa Mid West