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Rugby League Mackay and District men's A grade club-by-club preview

A high-quality and exciting Rugby League Mackay and District men's A grade competition beckons in season 2024, with Round 1 kicking off this weekend.

North Queensland Cowboys 2015 premiership winner Kane Linnett may have retired from top-flight rugby league at the end of the Super League season last year, but will pull on the boots in community rugby league for Sarina Crocodiles.

Ben Barba is also set to light up the field for the Crocs, transferring from Mossman-Port Douglas in Far North Queensland last year.

Sarina is widely tipped to be a contender in 2024 alongside Mackay Magpies and the two teams will do battle in Round 1 of the season.

RLMD Men's A grade Round 1 When Location
Souths Sharks v Whitsunday Brahmans 3pm Saturday, April 13 Shark Park, South Mackay
Moranbah Miners v Carltons Devils 7.30pm Saturday, April 13 Darryl Bourke Oval, Moranbah
Sarina Crocodiles v Mackay Magpies 3pm Sunday, April 14 TBA
Wests Tigers v Mackay Brothers 3pm Sunday, April 14 Tiger Park, Walkerston

Brothers might not be far behind after recruiting 2023 Brisbane Rugby League Premier A grade player of the year Brad Campbell.

Find out all the ins, outs and expectations of every club below.

Sarina Crocodiles

Coach: Kane Linnett

Captain: Kane Linnett (pictured)

Signings: Ben Barba (Mossman-Port Douglas), Kane Linnett, Ene Shibasaki, Josh Natoli, Beau Dixon, Tyson Miller

Losses: Kyle Krisankski-Kennedy, Schae Mawer, Conner Toia

Who is the team to beat this year and why?

Mackay Brothers. Brothers seem to have retained their valuable squad members from the 2023 season and will continue to be a tough side to beat.

What are your main areas of focus?

This season, discipline and cultural improvements remain our key focus areas. The values of the club that need to be maintained were established by the playing group and there will be a noticeable change in these areas.

What can fans expect from your club in 2024?

Fans can expect a very exciting season from the Sarina Crocs for 2024 and beyond. With the experience of Kane Linnett, Hamilton Taia and Ben Barba leading the team, a high level of rugby league quality will be on show. 

Souths Sharks

Coach: Mark Bowden

Captains: Sam Fa'apito and Mikaere Beattie

Signings: Marmin Barba (Carltons), Kobe Bone, Tyler O'Brien, Billy Vincent, Henri Stocks, Blake Coombes

Losses: Ryan Kinlyside (retired), Damon Koolstra (retired), Sam Johnstone (moved), Jack Willis (moved), Kyle Barnwell (moved), Mateo Laumea (moved)

Who is the team to beat this year and why?

The beauty of this competition is that any team can make a run through the finals. Over the past few seasons the top 5 usually isn't finalised until the last round, which just shows how competitive the competition is. We expect nothing different this year with reports of all clubs recruiting pretty well.

What can fans expect from your club in 2024?

They can expect that we will continue to be competitive in this competition. We have made finals in the past two seasons but have played inconsistent footy in both years. Our goals are to be more consistent this year, avoiding long losing streaks and pushing further in finals.

Whitsunday Brahmans

Coach: Trevor Nosworthy 

Captain: Byron Taylor

Signings: Kyle Trout, Jake Roberts, Matt Kennedy, Harry McCallister

Losses: Darcy Wright, Adam Crear, Isaac Richardson, Kel Sheather, Adam Wickens

Who is the team to beat this year and why?


What can fans expect from your club in 2024?

A youthful side with a lot of new combinations.

What are you looking forward to most about this season?

The club is again looking forward to the fantastic support from the local community. We have massive gratitude to those businesses that help the Brahmans to compete year in year out. The club is rebuilding after major losses in the off season, but the crowd at Les Stagg Oval can expect the side to be giving its all week in, week out.

Mackay Magpies 

Coach: Hep Cahill

Captains: Lama Tasi and Matt Vessey

Signings: Kyle Barnwell, Schae Mawer, Yaza Stephen, Robson Stevens, Kyle Kennedy, Corey Shepherd, Bailey Black, Sebastyan Jack, Brandon Russell, Kurt Lowe, Brad Holroyd

Losses: Zane Wallace, Cadence Tuki-Matene, Tyler Gardner, Shaun Edwards, Hayden Pace, Kenny Taviri, Tommy Dwan, Brendon Frescon, Miah Davis

Who is the team to beat this year and why?

Sarina and Brothers. Both clubs have recruited heavily for the 2024 season.

What can fans expect from your club in 2024?

Magpies to continue to develop juniors with opportunities and pathways for players to higher playing levels/systems.

What else do supporters have to be excited about?

With the appointment of head coach Hep Cahill and highly experienced club coaching staff right across the board, it will hold the club in great shape.

Wests Tigers

Coach: Mick Baker

Captains: Darcy Cox and Kellen Jenner

Signings: Tupu Junior Fifita, Reily Kent and Emmanuel Parua 

Losses: Liam Taylor, Jackson Phillips, Jake Eden

Who is the team to beat this year and why?

Magpies, building on last year with a recruitment drive.

What can fans expect from your club in 2024?

Young energetic team who will strive to perform to their potential each week. 

What else do supporters have to be excited about?

Winning the reserve grade comp last year will be a positive experience for us to build on. 

Moranbah Miners

Coach: Jim Ahmat

Captains: Remus Phineasa and Michael Bell 

Signings: Braythen Porter, Fe’ao Maka, Seth McGilvray and Ethan Roberts 

Losses: Yamba Bowie (Coolum Colts) Cameron White, Logan Sullivan, Will Matthew, Aden Young

Who is the team to beat this year and why?

Sarina, recruited well.

What can fans expect from your club in 2024?

Pride, passion and drive.

Mackay Brothers 

Coach: Tom Heggie

Captain: TBA

Signings: Brad Campbell, Tom McNulty (Normanby Hounds BRL), Walter Lauenstein, Rydge Smith, Will Shears and Bailey Anderson

Losses: Matt Kennedy

Who is the team to beat this year and why?

Magpies. They're the defending premiers and recruited well again. Looks like they have great depth in all positions.

What can fans expect from your club in 2024?

All grades should be stronger this year. We have a number of new players to the club while retaining the core of our all our teams from 2023, with one of our goals being to take out the club championship.

What else do supporters have to be excited about?

We have many new young players from Brothers Bulldogs and Wanderers who have signed to play under 20s. This will allow some of our more experienced under 20 players to step up and play some senior football for either the reserves or A grade.

Carltons Devils

Coach: Isacc Fatnowna

Signings: Isaac Thomson, Nathan Benson, Shaun Edwards

Losses: Marmin Barba (Souths)

How will your club improve in 2024?

We're just working to stay together as a team. We haven't had the best start obviously but we're all connecting and staying as one. We've just got to work together week in, week out, take each game as it comes and hopefully all the boys stick together throughout the season.

What can fans expect from your game style?

As a team we're just going to play aggressive, play fast.

Who is the team to beat and why?

Not too sure. All the teams have recruited pretty well. Magpies will be hard to beat again, but it's a tough one to call. If you had to pick one, I think Sarina would be the ones to beat this year, just because they've brought in a fair chunk of players and kept the same players as last year. With Ben Barba, they're going to be up there definitely.

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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