Cowboys still chasing Scott's signature - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys still chasing Scott's signature

By Laine Clark 30/06/2009 07:44:17 PM Comments (0)

Suddenly Matt Scott is one of the hottest props on the NRL market - but North Queensland believe they are "not even close" to re-signing the State of Origin hopeful.

And in a major disappointment for the club, the Cowboys will farewell Scott's in-form front row partner Shane Tronc at the end of the season.

Scott is considered the favourite to slot into one of the Maroons' front-rower berths left vacant for Origin III after injuries to Petero Civoniceva (foot) and Ben Hannant (knee).

He was named 18th man for Queensland in Origin I and has enjoyed career-best form this season, ranking first and Tronc third among NRL front-rowers in metres gained in 2009.

While weekend speculation claimed North Queensland were just days away from re-signing Scott, Cowboys boss Peter Parr said there was still plenty of work to be done to ensure they kept their man.

"Any report that said we were close to re-signing Matthew was premature," Parr said.

"We have a lot of work to do to get to a position where everyone is comfortable."

Parr said Scott's Origin III claims would have no effect on their contract negotiations.

"Whether he gets picked for Origin or not - and I would suggest he will - that doesn't change our opinion of him," he said.

"We don't need him to get picked for Origin to prove to us what ability he has got.

"And just because he gets picked for State of Origin doesn't mean all of a sudden we have more money to offer.

"We have only got what we can afford. We understand his importance to the team but Origin won't change our stance."

There were reports that Scott had been "shopped around" to NRL clubs with Brisbane keen to snap up the imposing prop.

But Parr said: "We want to keep him and the indications from his manager are that he would like to stay, so now it is part of the negotiation process.

"If we can't find some common ground, his manager might explore some other opportunities for him."

Meanwhile, Tronc is expected to leave for the UK next season after being squeezed out due to salary-cap constraints.

"Which is a shame because he has been a great contributor for the club," Parr said.

"He came here with his career at a real crossroads.

"We took a gamble on him, but some six years on he has played more than 100 games for the Cowboys, played in finals series for us, and proved beyond doubt that he is a very, very good NRL player.

"He has proven a lot of people wrong.

"In a perfect world, we could have offered him something."

The pair will look to help the Cowboys bounce back from last round's loss to the Bulldogs when they line up against Cronulla in Townsville on Saturday night.

Fullback Matt Bowen (ribs), Carl Webb (ankle) and Luke O'Donnell (knee) have been welcomed back by the Cowboys.

Cowboys coach Neil Henry said NSW back-rower O'Donnell was "very likely" to recover from the injury suffered in Origin II.

However, pivot Travis Burns (knee) has been given the week off while Ben Harris (hamstring) is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.

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