ON THE CUSP: Shane Wright's impressive form for the Cutters has him primed for a place in the Cowboys line-up.
ON THE CUSP: Shane Wright's impressive form for the Cutters has him primed for a place in the Cowboys line-up. Cowboys Media

Cutters coach to Wright: 'We don't want to see you'

AS WELL as Shane Wright has played for the Cutters this season, coach Steve Sheppard has told the Proserpine product he does not want to see the second rower in a Mackay jersey.

When Queensland Rugby League released the early season tally for the Petero Civoniceva Medal yesterday, Wright sat just one point shy of leader, Sunshine Coast hooker Harry Grant, in the count.

The award for the Intrust Super Cup's best and fairest player, won last season by Ipswich Jets skipper Nathaniel Neale, is voted on each round by referees on a 3-2-1 scale.

Wright has eight votes to his name after five rounds; firmly entrenching him as one of the premier players in the competition so far this season.

And while the backrower may fly under the radar down south, Sheppard said Wright's importance to the Cutters has never been in question.

"Not with us, we're extremely happy with him,” he said.

"He's taken on a bit of a leadership role this year, because we've got quite a few Cowboys (players) coming back and I wanted a leader amongst those boys.

"He's been sensational; he's averaging over 120m a game, his tackle count is good, his efficiency is good, and just his leadership values on and off the field - we're really pleased with him.”

So-too apparently are the Cowboys, who have named Wright as 19th man for the past three weeks.

If the 23-year-old continues his sparkling form, the Cutters may need to consider life without him this season.

Sheppard welcomes that prospect.

"That's the whole idea of the pathway program,” he said.

"We're quite comfortable in where we sit and understand it is what it is. The good thing about Wrighty is he's a Proserpine junior - he has local ties.

"We want to see him succeed as much as he can. I've told all these players, 'we don't want to see ya, we want you to be playing NRL'.

"We want to be that club to help you play NRL, and (Wright) has given himself a good opportunity.”

Wright has been at the Cowboys since he was 21, but has endured a frustrating run with injury.

In his first year he broke his jaw; last season it was a broken scapula which kept him sidelined.

"This year has been his best year,” Sheppard said.

"Obviously the votes indicate that. We've become quite close and communicate a bit more these days with his leadership role.

"Hopefully (the injuries) have stopped now. He deserves to be playing more NRL.”

Mackay host Tweed Heads at BB Print Stadium tomorrow night.



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