Young hooker returns to bolster Cowboys bench

Mackay Cutters hooker Reuben Cotter has been named to return to the Cowboys line-up this weekend for their clash with the Newcastle Knights on Saturday afternoon and his is looking to make the most of his latest opportunity.

Cotter has appeared 15 times this season for the Mackay Cutters Intrust Super Cup side, with two NRL appearances under his belt already in Round 13 and Round 15.

Cotter has scored nine tries for the Cutters this year and has also made more than 1000 running metres at an average of just under 70 per game.   

He addressed the media in North Queensland on Wednesday, where he said he was hoping to take full advantage of a place on the Cowboys bench.

Full Reuben Cotter media conference available on the NQ Cowboys website

“It’s been a while since I had my last crack, I’m excited to get another crack this weekend against the Knights and hopefully it goes well," Cotter said.

Cotter began his representative career at a young age, representing the Queensland Murri Under 16 side as well as the Queensland Under 16 side that claimed victories over New South Wales in 2014.

After a year of success, Cotter went on to represent in the Australian Schoolboys in 2015, where his starting role as hooker helped the Australian Schoolboys beat New Zealand 70-24 in the first test match.

However, Cotter succumbed to consecutive ACL injuries in 2016 and 2017, which left him unable to play for close to three years as he fought hard to return to playing competitively.

Now, with a season of mostly unimpeded football under his belt, Cotter said the challenge of returning to the NRL was one he would relish.

“The goal is to finish the season in the top squad, and the more experience I get for this year will help me make myself available for next season too,” he said.

"Obviously, the NRL is a little bit quicker than the (Intrust Super) Cup; going back to Cup you do notice the difference and it pushes you to work harder at lower levels so you’re ready."

It’s not only his attacking game that Cotter touts as important to his development, as the young hooker also sports a 91.8% tackle efficiency rating in the Intrust Super Cup this season.

Cotter told reporters on Wednesday that his impact from the bench should be both offensive and defensive to play to his strengths as a player.

"I'm hoping to bring an instant impact and energy off the bench, if I can get my running game and my defensive game into it too then I’ll be happy with how it went,” he said.

After a big performance for his side in their narrow loss to the top-of-the-table Falcons last weekend, he was originally named to start for the Cutters in their home game against Norths Devils on Saturday night; but coach Steve Sheppard will need to find a replacement for the tough match.