Wad­dell buoyed by Ben­nett call

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -


TRAVIS Wad­dell says a move to the Bris­bane Bron­cos could take him back to his best NRL ca­reer form.

The 25-year-old Proser­pine prod­uct has signed a two-year deal with the Bron­cos, fol­low­ing coach Wayne Ben­nett from the New­cas­tle Knights.

An "up and down" 2014 sea­son at the Knights, which in­cluded an ex­ten­sive pe­riod with the Knights' NSW Cup squad, had left Wad­dell ques­tion­ing his po­si­tion at the club.

Hav­ing formed a close bond with Ben­nett, and hear­ing the il­lus­tri­ous men­tor say he wanted to lure Wad­dell north, the tal­ented hooker jumped at the chance to re­turn to Queens­land and make his child­hood dream of play­ing for the Bron­cos come true.

"I played a fair bit of NSW Cup but I got back in the NRL to­wards the end of the sea­son, and that's when we started win­ning more games, so that gave me a bit of a con­fi­dence boost," Wad­dell said.

"I al­ways wanted to come back to Queens­land. Since I was a young kid I wanted to play for the Bron­cos.

"I've be­come close with Wayne - I lived with him for four weeks and I get along with him well – [so] I was re­ally happy when Wayne said he was go­ing to take me back to Bris­bane.

"Ob­vi­ously Wayne's given me another op­por­tu­nity and I'm just thank­ful for that."

Wad­dell played for the Whit­sun­day Brah­mans for 12 years be­fore be­ing picked up by In­trust Su­per Cup club Souths Lo­gan Mag­pies.

From there he was re­cruited to the Can­berra Raiders for four sea­sons and then the Knights for two sea­sons.

Wad­dell be­comes the fourth player from the Mackay re­gion on the Bron­cos' books, with Josh Hoff­man and Ben and Marmin Barba al­ready at the club.

Though his cousin, Hoff­man, seems des­tined to leave the club as soon as this week, Wad­dell was hope­ful of him stay­ing and was ex­cited about be­ing re­united with old mates.

"It'll be good to be back play­ing with the boys; I've played with Josh and Ben be­fore, so that will be good," he said.

"I'll be heaps bet­ter; it's only one flight away (from Mackay) and my fam­ily will be able to come down as well, so I'm re­ally happy."

DREAM COME TRUE: Proser­pine prod­uct Travis Wad­dell, pic­tured at the All Stars game in 2011, has ful­filled a child­hood dream by sign­ing with the Bris­bane Bron­cos.

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