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Mackay Cutters: BMD Premiership gains and losses for 2024

Kimberley Hunt had a huge 2023 and she is looking for an equally large 2024. All signs are positive after starring for the Indigenous All Stars and signing with Mackay Cutters.

The talented centre with a good kicking game, who hails from Tully, was a standout for Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the BMD Premiership last year before being called into the Parramatta Eels NRLW side.

“I can't even believe that happened,” Hunt said.

“It was unbelievable… best experience of my life, 2023 was.”

Hunt's skills draw on what she learned being part of soccer excellence programs as a youngster, and playing rugby union with the Queensland Reds.

“I think it was 2018 was the first year they started NRLW and I got approached by the Brisbane Broncos… I had a knee injury at the time, I’d had a full knee reconstruction… so my strength and conditioning coach said I needed to pick one sport… I couldn’t play both," Hunt said.

“But I was like ‘one is on Saturday and one is on Sunday… it’ll be all good’, but I made the decision to let union go.”

Hunt said not long after that, she ruptured all of the ligaments in her knee and her surgeon said she would never play sport again.

“Good old stubborn me, I’m like, ‘I’ll show you’ and a few years later Wynnum put a team in and I said, ‘I’ll play,’... now here I am," Hunt said.

Hunt playing in the 2023 grand final. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Hunt playing in the 2023 grand final. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

The 31-year-old, who first played rugby league in Year 12, said the unexpected call from the Eels last year saw her head down with no expectations.

Hunt said a solid season with Wynnum Manly, and the professional environment at the club as a pathway to the NRLW, was “super important” to her getting the opportunity.

“I was just happy to get down there and have that opportunity and then I got called up for my debut… I was thinking, ‘is this really happening?’… it was so good,” Hunt said.

“How professional females are treated at the BMD level, and how professional its all gotten, is excellent. Having that exposure through BMD Premiership is what got me down to Parramatta.

“I think playing in All Black carnivals also exposed me… I hadn’t really played too much footy… I had the two seasons with Wynnum but before that all I was playing was Murri carnivals. You have people like Dean Widders and stuff who are around the ground watching young Indigenous players play.”

The Deadly Choices operations manager said a career opportunity she couldn’t turn down saw her move to Palm Cove near Cairns and link up with Mackay Cutters for season 2024.

Hunt said Cutters coach Marco Peters had coached her before at a carnival, so it was nice to have that familiarity.

“He’s very passionate and he believes in people too… it gave me a confidence boost for him to want me to play underneath him,” Hunt said.

Hunt said she was thrilled fellow Wynnum Manly gun and 2023 BMD Premiership player of the year Shaniah Power had also moved to Mackay.

“Me and her were double trouble on that left edge at Wynnum,” she said.

“To move with her to Cutters, it’s really nice. We both know each other’s playing style and we’re comfortable playing together.”

Hunt, who trains remotely most of the week before joining the Cutters for a few sessions, said her focus was on her season with Cutters, but if another NRLW opportunity came up, she would take it with both hands.

“If I get another NRLW contract, happy days, but I don’t want to think too far into the future… I’m focused on Mackay and giving everything there, playing some good footy,” Hunt said.

“Being up here, my job is all about community engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and preventative health… I’m pretty passionate about moving back home and being able to raise awareness in the community in and around where I grew up. So that’s why I really wanted to come home, to be able to do my job up here."

Hunt said everyone had been training hard leading into Round 1.

“Training remotely and coming into the team, the Cutters made sure everyone stays connected so when you go back, you already feel connected because they’re always in contact with you, always making sure you’re alright,” Hunt said.

“Which is what you want from coaching staff, especially when you live so far away.

“I reckon we’re going to take out the comp… watch this space.”

The Cutters face Tweed Seagulls in Round 1.

Mackay Cutters 2024 gains and losses


Montanah Best (Mackay Rugby League), Krystal Blackwell (North Queensland Cowboys), Bree Chester (North Queensland Cowboys), Maddy Hegarty (Mackay Rugby League), Kimberley Hunt (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Paityne Johns (Mackay Cutters Under 19), Mersades Lawson (Mackay Cutters Under 19), Shellie Long (Souths Logan Magpies), Chelsea Mcleod (Mackay Cutters Under 19), Shae Muhleisen (Townsville Rugby League), Shaniah Power (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Ebony Rafstrand-Smith (Canterbury Bulldogs), Tiana Rafstrand-Smith (Canterbury Bulldogs), Pani Rupapere (Mackay Rugby League)


Laikha Clarke (Gold Coast Titans), Zoe Cook (Western Clydesdales), Katie Green (year off), Casey Manzelmann (Western Clydesdales), Alicia Martin (relocated), Shannon Mato (Brisbane Tigers), Romy Teitzel (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Mackenzie Weale (Norths Devils)

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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