Jack Cutcliffe loss mourned by Pirates and Tamworth rugby clubs

LOST BROTHER: The Pirates pause for a minutes silence to remember Jack Cutcliffe in their trial game against Balmain on Saturday. Photo: Peter Hardin 010317PHE005
LOST BROTHER: The Pirates pause for a minutes silence to remember Jack Cutcliffe in their trial game against Balmain on Saturday. Photo: Peter Hardin 010317PHE005

The young Pirates player and McCarthy College student who died suddenly on Thursday night has been remembered as a “quietly-spoken natural leader”.

The rugby community is still reeling from the loss of 16-year-old Jack Cutcliffe, with clubs across the region paying respect to the much-loved player.

Jack’s coach Sean Tufrey said the tragedy had hit the players hard.

“It’s rocked everyone, right through the club,” Mr Tufrey said.

“He was the type of bloke anyone could talk to, from retirees to the blokes he was playing with. He had time for anyone and everyone.

“You’d get a laugh out of Jack and he’d give it right back to you. Everyone loved him. He’ll be sorely missed.”

Pirates president Stuart Prowse said the club was still in shock, and the focus was on supporting Jack’s family and teammates.

“The seniors players and coaches rallied everyone together on Friday night, and the players had the opportunity to talk,” Mr Prowse said.

“Australian Rugby Union also offered counselling services. We’ll keep a close eye on the boys and Jack’s family, and be there for them as a club.”

The talented number six captained his team last year and was set to lead the team again this season.

“There was a good reason he was captain,” Mr Prowse said.  “He had the respect of everyone in the club, and a healthy respect from his opposition as well.”

McCarthy College principal Geoff McManus said Jack was a “very popular, hard-working” student with a great sense of humour.

“I’m thankful we have a tight and supportive community because we really needed that on Friday when we told the students and staff,” Mr McManus said.

“The staff have been incredible, and as much as they are upset themselves, have really supported the students. We’ve had excellent counselling support from the Department [of Education], and Centacare also sent a counsellor to support our college counsellor.

“We’re so appreciative of the community’s support for our young people as they try and deal with this incredible shock.”

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