STARTING FRESH: Former NRL player Odell Manuel.
STARTING FRESH: Former NRL player Odell Manuel.

Manuel back on road to the top



NEW Central Comets centre, Odell Manuel, arrives in Rockhampton with NRL connections to his name, but he is a player just trying to start over again.

He has not arrived as the club's saviour.

After claiming the Queensland Cup wooden spoon last season, but as a player firstly trying to revitalise his own career.

Manuel, 27, played on the wing for the Warriors in 1999 and 2000.

His team mates included Stacey Jones, Sean Hoppe and Matthew Ridge.

Before moving to the Canberra Raiders on a two year contract to run alongside players like Simon Woolford, Brett Finch and former Central Queenslanders Clinton Schifcofske and Darren Mapp.

Manuel, now weighing in at 107kg and standing at 185cm, only lasted just over a year at Canberra before returning to New Zealand to play local rugby league.

"I was homesick and I lost my soul really,'' Manuel said, who has since turned to Christianity.

"I played before as a young guy taking it day-by-day ? I've learnt from my mistakes.''

Football is this man's life.

"I'm not really a talented person.

"The Comets have given me a lifeline and I want to try and make top footy again.''

Manuel joined the Comets first return to the training paddock last week after just over a two week break during the festive season.

He describes the club set up as "beautiful'', comparing the tough pre-season work to his old NRL training days.

An early priority is getting his fitness back and coping with Rockhampton's hot weather.

Comets coach, Matt Parish, is also ready to test new waters having arrived at the club during the off-season from The Entrance, in New South Wales.



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