The Illawarra Cutters have had four players named in the annual NSWRL Team of the Year.
Cutters quartet Levi Dodd, Shannon Wakeman, Tyrone McCarthy and Jacob Host have all been nominated in the 17-man team as selected by an expert panel including broadcast partners at Fox Sports Australia, Steele Sports, Hawkesbury Radio and Triple H FM, in addition to NSWRL.com.au staff writers.
Furthermore, Cutters Head Coach Jason Demetriou has been named as coach of the star-studded team.
Team Of The Week Selections: 4
Given intermittent chances with the St George Illawarra Dragons this season on his return to the code, the former Bulldog has been a standout for the Cutters in their charge to the Grand Final.
Dodd’s explosive speed in the Cutters’ backline has seen him post 15 tries for the season and seen him as the first centre picked by coach Jason Demetriou when available.
Team Of The Week Selections: 5
The only Cutter to play over 150 games in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, Wakeman’s consistency has seen the prop become a mainstay in the Illawarra side’s charge to the Grand Final this season.
Tough and uncompromising in the middle, Wakeman has been outstanding in both making tough yards with the ball and in bone-jarring defence.
He has helped lay the platform up front for the likes of Dodd, Faifai Loa and Quinlan to do their thing out wide.
A highlight of the year was his 55-metre runaway try against Newtown at Henson Park in Round 13.
Team Of The Week Selections: 1
After being given the captaincy in the second half of the season by coach Andrew Demetriou, McCarthy took his game to a level that saw him handed his NRL debut in Round 22.
Dangerous when skirting down the left fringe in attack, McCarthy added another dimension to the Cutters’ forward play in the back half of the season.
He also can be punishing in defence and caught our eye enough to make the starting second row in the Team Of The Year.
Team Of The Week Selections: 3
At just 19 years of age, Host is yet another Illawarra forward who was not afraid to do the hard yards this year – a philosophy that has delivered the Cutters to their first Grand Final.
Playing in either the front or second row, Host has delivered 11 strong performances for the Cutters so far and will be out for one more on Sunday afternoon.
His form earned him an NRL debut in Round 9 before seven more games in the back end of the season.
At such a young age, Host is a definite highlight to come from the Dragons’ and Cutters’ system this season.
Coach: Jason Demetriou
It was extremely difficult to split the two Grand Final coaches - but Demetriou’s success in turning around the Cutters is impossible to overlook.
The Cutters side came just tenth in 2015 and, in his first year at the club, Demetriou managed to take them to their maiden Grand Final appearance.
Demetriou has enjoyed an outstanding run of coaching in recent years, having delivered the Northern Pride an Intrust Super Cup title in 2014, before helping the Cowboys to their NRL Premiership as an assistant coach last year.