Mackay Cutters recruit Matiu Stone-Dunn comes to the club via Northcote Tigers.
Mackay Cutters recruit Matiu Stone-Dunn comes to the club via Northcote Tigers.

‘Ticks all the boxes’: Fullback joins Cutters via Warriors

With his engineering degree now complete and an eye to making the most of his prolific football talents, Matiu Stone-Dunn is eager to stamp his mark on the Intrust Super Cup with the Mackay Cutters.

The 25 year old fullback joins the Cutters via Auckland Rugby League side Northcote Tigers – the same club that fostered Paul Rauhihi, Alex Glenn and Kevin Locke, to name a few.

It is with former Kiwi international Locke whom Stone-Dunn shares many enviable football traits: strong under the high ball, with the speed and vision to do damage in the return game.

Those qualities are what drew Cutters coach Michael Crawley to Stone-Dunn, despite the club boasting some more than capable returners already.

Locals Rayden Burns and Kyle Kennedy will both vie for the starting number one role this season, alongside third-year Cutter Paul Byrnes.

Scott Drinkwater is also available to the club through the Cowboys’ allocation, though how often the Cutters will have his services this season remains to be seen.

“You need competition in all positions. Competition brings out the best in players and that’s what the boys need,” Crawley explained.

“Scott Drinkwater is in our allocation … but how much we see of him is probably minimal anyway. (Fullback) is one of the positions I felt we could use a bit of depth in.

“ (Stone-Dunn) is a big, tall outside back who returns the ball really well. Watching his vision from last year’s comp in Auckland he’s a really good attacking player.

“We had Luke Polselli from Cronulla last year and he was doing a really good job for us, but he’s gone back to play in Sydney this year so for me it was all about Matiu.

“He’s spent a couple of years getting his engineering degree and now he really wants to give footy a go again.”

Stone-Dunn has previously spent two years with the Warriors’ Intrust Super Premiership side and thus is no stranger to cup football.

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In just a handful of sessions with his new teammates, he has already impressed.

“His skinfolds would be next to negative I think. He’s in great condition,” Crawley said.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what Matiu can bring on game day. These days having outside backs that can return the ball well is a big part of the game and he ticks all the boxes in that area.”

As for the softly spoken Stone-Dunn, he was eager to let his actions on the field do most of the talking.

“I’m here to help us take out the comp,” he said.

“That, and to just play good footy.”

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