It will be quite a home coming for Nene Macdonald when he finishes his debut season for the Titans in Townsville on Saturday night.
Born in Port Moresby but raised in Cairns, Macdonald’s extended family have remained in far north Queensland. All will converge on 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night. Nene left for Townsville for years 11 and 12 at Kirwan State High.
“I’m looking forward to a lot of family being there and also a lot of mates I went to school with,” said the 21-year-old who signed from the Roosters in May.
“I’ve only been back there playing under-20s for the Roosters so it will be great to be in the NRL this time in front of them. I went there as 18th man in round one this year [for the Roosters] but didn’t play.
“We have had two upsets in a row against the Raiders and Dragons so hopefully we can keep the winning form going up there; it would be awesome.”
Macdonald left Townsville as a 17-year-old in 2011 to play with the Titans under-18s but was snared by the Roosters months later and played 11 NRL games for them before heading to the Gold Coast where he has played 10 straight since his arrival.
Macdonald was moved to the left wing against the Dragons on Sunday after playing at left centre in his previous Titans appearances. He has been chosen there again for Saturday night’s clash.
A classmate, and footy teammate, at Kirwan was Kierran Moseley in his last two years at school before both left the town to chase their NRL dreams – Moseley heading to Penrith.
Moseley, who will have family travel from his home town of Cloncurry to the game, will also play an NRL match before extended family and friends for the first time. He’d had just one NRL appearance, for the Panthers, before – like Macdonald – being released to take advantage of first grade opportunities with the Titans this season.
Both will be among others who have had to take on extra responsibility this year with the Titans hit by injury.
In the side that beat the Dragons were Macdonald it was his 21st NRL appearances, Lachlan Burr 20th, Agnatius Paasi’s 18th, Moseley’s and Kane Elgey’s 15th while Nathaniel Peteru was playing his fourth.
All will be at the club next season and will be joined by Junior Kangaroos halfback Ashley Taylor – showing what upside there is within the young squad.