Wooden hitches star to Comets
By AARON KELLY
NEW CENTRAL Comets frontrow enforcer Grant "Squasher'' Wooden has confirmed he will be at Browne Park next season, despite a tug-of-war for his services.
Wooden, who only last week signed with the Comets, is at the centre of a contract dispute between his Jim Beam Cup club, Erina, and the Comets.
Wooden, 26, is under contract at Erina until the end of the 2008 season after linking with the Central Coast club from Wynnum this season.
However, it is understood the former Manly first-grader has a clause in his deal where he can seek a release if an opportunity to return to the NRL arises.
Wooden has been dual-signed by the Comets and their NRL feeder-club the North Queensland Cowboys.
Comets chief executive Jamie Boon said he spoke with Wooden yesterday and the prized signing confirmed his playing future at the Comets in 2006.
"As far as we're concerned, it's a storm in a teacup,'' Boon said.
However, furious Erina officials are standing their ground. "Squasher won't be going to the Comets,'' football manager Michael Newton said yesterday.
"He won't be going anywhere .?.?. the contract is null and void.''
The Comets will today fight the charges of Andrew Dale, Tyron Haynes and Aoterangi Herangi to have them available for Sunday's final-round Queensland Wizard Cup clash with Tweed Heads.
Dale will receive a two-match ban unless he can prove himself not guilty of a dangerous throw while Herangi is facing a onematch ban for a careless high tackle in the 79th minute of last Saturday night's 36-14 loss to Ipswich.
Haynes (dangerous throw) can escape suspension with an early guilty plea.
The Comets' presentation night will be held at the Rockhampton Leagues Club tomorrow night.