Reuben Cotter has shone for the Mackay Cutters.
Reuben Cotter has shone for the Mackay Cutters. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Positive mind key for Cotter

RUGBY LEAGUE: A tumultuous battle with injuries has done little to deter Reuben Cotter's pursuit of NRL honours.

Back-to-back tears to his left ACL threatened to derail the hooker's promising career.

However, the determined Mackay-bred talent has risen to become an integral component of the Cutters' line-up.

Cotter never imagined his return to rugby league would have happened this quickly.

However, he is now an allocated player with the North Queensland Cowboys, and said a positive mindset had gone a long way.

"Injuries are always going to be hard, and it's even harder when you're out of the game for so long,” Cotter said.

"A lot changes in that time, but the club here and the Cowboys have been looking after me for three years.”

While Cotter is focusing on doing his part for the Cutters on the training park and in each fixture, an NRL berth is his ultimate ambition.

Forging an impressive partnership with fellow dummy-half, Jayden Hodges, the 20-year-old Cotter is developing a reputation for his toughness.

The fruits of his fortitude were on display in the Cutters 42-20 victory over the Central Queensland Capras. He scooted out of the ruck to score a try and was a constant menace to the Rockhampton defence.

Vice captain Hodges said the pair had ironed out a strong "one-two punch combo” that has now become a feature of Cutters' performances in 2019.

The combination between the two has been a strength for the Cutters in the season's opening exchanges; however, coach Steve Sheppard said he wanted to see continued improvement in the middle of the field.

Cotter said he had benefited from working alongside Hodges, as well as Cowboys NRL No 9, Jake Granville.

"It's good to finally be back and playing some good footy,” he said.

"I like to think I am (improving every week) ... but I just have to take it week by week and focus on contributing to the team as a whole.”

Sheppard has been impressed by Cotter's resolve despite the young man's injury history.

"He's a phenomenal footballer, and he hasn't played in three years, so I think that's just his fourth game (in that time).

"He's just going to get better and better - I'm very excited about that.”



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