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Prop Webb is free to fight in off-season

20/05/2008 05:40:53 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland won't stand in the way of powerhouse prop Carl Webb dabbling in boxing during the NRL off-season.

After Webb re-signed with the Cowboys for another two seasons, club chief executive Peter Parr said on Monday the Australia and Queensland forward was free to trade the football boots for the boxing gloves if it didn't interfere with his NRL commitments.

"We've told him that if he wants to have a fight we would allow him to do that," Parr told AAP from Sydney where he attended a chief executives' meeting.

"It was just one question with one answer.

"If it happens, it happens. I would hope with this off-season he'd be tied up with the World Cup (playing for Australia).

"I think it'd be hard to find a fight this coming off-season but the following one there might be some space.

"I'll pull for that if and when he wants to fight and if and when he finds an opponent."

Willie Mason cited the Bulldogs' reluctance to allow him into the boxing ring as one of the reasons for his fallout with the club before he joined Sydney Roosters.

Webb challenged Mason to a fight just a few months ago but in a comical coincidence, the pair were roommates in the Australian camp in the lead-up to this month's Centenary Test against New Zealand.

The re-signing of Webb until the end of 2010 is a massive boost to the Cowboys and comes less than 24 hours after Graham Murray resigned as coach in dramatic circumstances.

With just three wins from 10 matches this season, North Queensland are floundering in 15th spot on the ladder.

Parr said he hoped the retention of Webb would convince other players to stay in Townsville.

Players off-contract for the struggling Cowboys include Maroons forward Jacob Lillyman, back-rowers Steve Southern and Sione Faumuina and centre Ben Harris.

"There's no doubt he's someone that other blokes like playing with," Parr said about Webb.

"A few of his critics often come up with statistics on Carl but he brings some things to a team that you don't see on a stats sheet.

"Other players see that in him -- the presence, leadership, intimidation and aggression that he brings, they're qualities you don't find in too many players.

"I'm sure when players put their boots on before a game and look up and see Carl on the other side of the room, they're thinking `we're going into the trenches here, I'm glad we've got him'.

"He's a popular member of our club."

Webb, preparing for Origin I in Sydney on Wednesday night, has played 11 Origins and one Test.

He was being chased by the Bulldogs and English club Wigan before re-signing with the Cowboys, who will be coached by Canberra mentor Neil Henry next week.

"He acknowledges he's played his best football at the Cowboys and gone from being a fringe first grader to an international player at the club," Parr said.

"Certainly he enjoys a good relationship with Neil Henry and that played a big part in it."

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