No NRL lifeline for banned hooker - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No NRL lifeline for banned hooker

Laine Clark 16/08/2011 05:11:18 PM Comments (0)

The man who helped start Travis Waddell's NRL career at Canberra has ruled out throwing the "trapped" Raiders hooker a lifeline next year.

Neil Henry - then the North Queensland assistant - left Townsville to take up the Raiders coaching reins in 2007, with Proserpine's Waddell in tow.

Henry - now the Cowboys head coach - felt for Waddell after the 2010 Indigenous All Star was banned from playing in the NRL for the rest of 2011 due to a change in dual registration rules.

But the North Queensland mentor ruled out making a play for the 22-year-old rake next season despite admitting he had spoken to Waddell's management.

"I actually got him to go to Canberra when I moved from here to Canberra so I know the kid," Henry said on Tuesday.

"He's a handy hooker but we really haven't got a spot there.

"I have spoken to his manager.

"But we are expecting Aaron Payne to re-sign, we've got Chico (back-up rake James Segeyaro), young Nathan Norford and Ben Jones as a utility - we are fine for depth."

Under new NSWRL dual registration rules, Waddell is not able to play for the Raiders again this season.

Fringe Raiders must play in the local Canberra league - but Waddell opted to continue turning out for Souths Logan in the Queensland Cup.

His future was further clouded at the Raiders after they re-signed hooker Glen Buttriss and upgraded young rake Matt McIlwrick's contract.

"It's an unfortunate situation," Henry said of Waddell's plight.

"I can see two sides to it. They (NSWRL) are wanting NSW sides and ACT to support their Sydney-based competition as opposed to the Queensland Cup.

"He had to make a decision and he is sort of trapped at the moment."

The Raiders were knocked back by the NSWRL when they tried to pick Waddell for last round's clash with South Sydney after injuries to hookers Alan Tongue (shoulder) and Glen Buttriss (pectoral muscle).

Henry was also left wondering what might have been with Will Tupou, after losing him to Super Rugby franchise the Western Force despite offering the New Zealand-born centre a new two-year deal.

Tupou, 20, has played 21 NRL games since his 2010 debut including nine this year.

"It is disappointing given that we have nurtured him along here and he has had a taste of first grade," Henry said.

"He does come from a rugby background and it was a good two-year offer.

"We weighed in for an offer for him, but he opted to move to WA - we wish him the best of luck."

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