MONSTER: Matt Groat bursting onto the ball way back in the Capras trial games.
MONSTER: Matt Groat bursting onto the ball way back in the Capras trial games. Allan Reinikka ROK040217acapras1

Bellamy's dangled carrot too much for departing Matt Groat

RUGBY LEAGUE: Matt Groat will depart the CQ Capras in bid to reignite his NRL career.

The boom prop forward - who was a revelation in his debut year at the club - will link with the Easts Tigers and spend the pre-season with the Melbourne Storm.

The opportunity to be under Craig Bellamy is a lure too appealing for the 25-year-old.

Groat returned from the rugby league wilderness when he signed for the Capras and his time at the club has paved the way forward.

While it is a loss both on and off-field, Capras can take pride in helping Groat's story of redemption.

He leaves a gaping hole in the Capras engine room.

"Even though he has been injured, Matt comes to every training session, he helps out on game day, he's an excellent mentor as well so it is definitely a blow," coach Kim Williams said.

"I'm disappointed and would love to have been able to keep him. Storm have that background of turning good players into great ones and that is his main motivation. We can take pride in knowing we have helped him.

"The quality of the player is sometimes secondary to being a good, dedicated professional and he ticks all the boxes. It is a great opportunity for him to show the Storm what he is made of and we wish him well."

Groat's departure adds to a sad player exodus from Browne Park. Brandon Manase, Aleki Falepaini and Justin Tavae all left early, Bill Cullen signed with Canberra and Gavin Hiscox has retired.

The future of potential Courier-Mail medallist, rake Krys Freeman, is still in limbo.

One can sympathise with Williams.

"We are not in the top echelon of QRL clubs, so that is a challenge straight away," he said.

"When they start throwing around the cheque books, the top clubs cherry pick the top players from the lower clubs.

"It does make the comp a bit uneven at times. Not having a salary cap means the richer clubs can do that. It is a part of this business and you have to accept it.

"We will likely lose some more but also gain some."

Vital for the Capras was the re-signing of halfback Jack Madden. He was one first players Williams approached and a real captaincy option.

"We get the feeling Madden will be here for a long time, he really represents the type of player we want at the club," he said. "It is fair to say we need depth at five-eighth. Reece Baker is a fullback and Mark Johnstone is still injured. We will look to other clubs and elsewhere. I am confident we will get the ones we want."



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