NZ NRL return looms for Cowboy Rovelli - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ NRL return looms for Cowboy Rovelli

By Laine Clark 17/12/2008 04:10:57 PM Comments (0)

New North Queensland Cowboys signing Grant Rovelli has bid farewell to his former New Zealand Warriors teammates - well, at least, he is trying to.

Rovelli won't have to wait long to see them again after the Warriors locked up the Cowboys for what should be an emotion-charged NRL trial on February 22 in Auckland that will see the World Cup trophy won by New Zealand proudly on display.

The Cowboys signed Rovelli as back-up for their injury-plagued halfback Johnathan Thurston but he delayed his departure from New Zealand to stay with his heavily-pregnant partner Lauren while still training at the Warriors.

Following the birth of their first child on December 8, Rovelli was officially farewelled by the Warriors on Tuesday and was presented with a specially embroidered jersey and a framed photo.

However, Rovelli will remain in New Zealand with his family for Christmas before finally linking with the Cowboys in the New Year.

Rovelli told his team-mates of the past three years that he "couldn't wait" to line up against the Warriors in February.

He is expected to play for the Cowboys along with fellow new faces Willie Tonga, Manase Manuokafoa and Antonio Kaufusi.

The Warriors will be pumped up with the appearance of not only the World Cup trophy but also favourite son Stacey Jones, who has come out of retirement, in what should be memorable return for Rovelli.

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said he would field his "best possible side", indicating their other major new signings - ex-Brisbane duo Denan Kemp and Joel Moon and former Cowboys backrower Jacob Lillyman - would be on show.

Seven of New Zealand's World Cup-winning squad are also expected to play.

"This one is extra special for us because the public will have a chance to not only see what the Warriors have in store for 2009 - including our new signings," Warriors CEO Wayne Scurrah said.

"But it will also be a great chance to salute a number of the players who helped the Kiwis win the World Cup and to also see the impressive trophy."

Cleary described the Cowboys trial as "vital" to their 2009 campaign.

"We want to field the best possible side we can for this trial and it's also important for us that we come up with a winning performance," he said.

"We need to start the NRL season better than has been the case for us in recent years and we believe the key to that is ensuring our results in trials improve.

"That's why the North Harbour (Auckland) game is so vital for us."

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