Family first for Cowboys’ MacDonald
For North Queensland Cowboys recruit and Cairns Brothers junior Nene MacDonald, family is the main motivation.
The 24-year-old Far North product inked a three-year deal with the Cowboys this October, after he was granted a release from the final year of his contract at St George-Illawarra on compassionate grounds.
MacDonald was on the park at Townsville Sports Reserve yesterday for his first preseason hit-out with his new Cowboys teammates.
He had a certain spring in his step at the new post, which by no coincidence is much closer to his hometown of Cairns.
MacDonald said he was looking forward to the extra support that being closer to family would bring next season, as well as being able to look up on gameday to see their faces in the 1300SMILES Stadium crowd.
"The reason I (play football) is for my family," he said. "To put myself in a better position for them."
"They couldn't come down much to watch me play (at the Dragons), but I can picture them here at every game now - it will be great support.
"Growing up in Cairns, everyone was either a Broncos or a Cowboys fan and our family was Cowboys."
MacDonald said it was good to get back into training after taking a "big holiday".
"You enjoy your time off, but it comes to a time when you've got to get back into it and you don't want to be catching up later," he said.
"The first session felt really good and I can't wait for the next few sessions. It's going to be tough, but that's what you do it for."
Since relocating back to North Queensland, MacDonald said he has been "loving it".
"Growing up I was a massive Cowboys fan - my whole family was," he said.
"I got the opportunity to come back up here and grabbed it with both hands."
He said despite breaking his contract with the Dragons, he left the club on good terms and was appreciative for what they did for him during his time there.
"The Dragons have always been good to me," he said.
"(St George coach Paul McGregor), I had a chat with him and he's such a good bloke.
"He understood that I had a chance to go home and that family means a lot, so he gave me the okay."
The Papua New Guinea representative has also recommitted his allegiance to the country's national team, after his future in the Kumuls strip was uncertain following an incident at a Port Moresby bar last month, in which a glass bottle was smashed over MacDonald's head.
"It was a weird event, it just happened out of nowhere," he said.
"The police commission has sorted (the investigation) out now.
"I was just angry at the time, but I'm over it now.
"These things happen. It's a pretty rough country, but I still love that country and I still love playing for them."