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Forward Mook-Kusu 'a strong, dynamic ball carrier'

Powerhouse Queensland Under 19 forward Montana Mook-Kusu was inspired to take up rugby league by watching her dad’s favourite State of Origin highlight reels of Mal Meninga.

The 17-year-old tearaway, who can play back row or prop, is one of North Queensland’s rising stars.

Family is special to the Bentley Park College student in Cairns, which is why she asked for her surname to be recorded as ‘Mook-Kusu’, to honour both sides of her family.

Her father, Sam Kusu, has a favourite DVD that Montana has watched over and over again. One Maroons legend, and rugby league Immortal, caught her eye.

“I used to watch a lot of Mal Meninga’s games for Queensland against NSW. That really inspired me,” Mook-Kusu said.

“My dad used to have this DVD of the State of Origin series and we would watch it on repeat.

“I’ve always loved Mal’s fend. When he runs, he runs. I always think how I would love to run like him.

“Originally I would watch the DVD for fun, but then I started getting into footy my dad would break it all down for me. I would watch it again and again to the point where I would say, ‘This is my favourite part’.”

Mook-Kusu’s love of rugby league started early.

“I first started playing when I was five. I was at my brother Manu’s game near a little town called Allora, just out of Warwick. He used to play for the Wattles Warriors,” she said.

“I tugged on my dad’s shirt and said, ‘I want to play. I want to play.’ He said, 'OK, bubba. We’ll sign you up tomorrow'. They signed me the next day for the Warriors and I played with the boys for a year and a bit.”

The family moved and Mook-Kusu started playing footy again in Year 7 in Ipswich, but she had to be creative to get a game.

“At that stage I was playing under 16s, but in someone else’s name,” she grinned.

“That was just to get a bit of footy under my belt. I was at Redbank Plains High in Ipswich.

“Mum and dad were busy working so I would walk to Goodna Eagles and play.”

Then she moved to Cairns and was training with the Northern Pride until she got picked in the Harvey Norman Under 19s squad. She hasn’t looked back since.

Queensland Under 19 coach Ben Jeffries has watched Mook-Kusu’s development and has been impressed.

“Montana has played really well through the Harvey Norman Under 19s program,” Jeffries said.

“She has moved back into Cairns football after that but is definitely earmarked to go higher in the North Queensland pathway.

“She is a strong, dynamic ball carrier who runs with intent and is really willing to learn. Montana is one who has really jumped the queue to be honest. I am really looking forward to her playing.

“I live up in North Queensland, in Townsville, and I have seen her come through the system. She has taken her opportunity with both hands.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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