Comets Player Neale Wyatt has his comeback game this weekend.
Comets Player Neale Wyatt has his comeback game this weekend. Allan Reinikka

Comets struck down again

WAYNE Barnett must be considering putting a ban on training after losing Nathan Barraclough to injury on Wednesday night.

The CQ Comets coach could hardly believe his team's bad luck when Barraclough went down in pain during a routine session.

“The way he went down and the way the ankle blew up, it doesn't look good,” he said.

“In the past few games he has been our best performer.”

That wasn't the only bad news for Barnett as he prepares his team for the game against Northern Pride in Cairns tonight.

Guy Ford was found to have committed an indiscretion against Redcliffe and the penalty points he has accrued means he's out for one week.

These losses are on top of the injury to fullback Jimmy McConachy, the non-availability of centre Matt Templeman and the long-term injuries to Junior Auru, Alan Rothery, Mick Esdale, Johnathan Tavinor and Marc Applegarth.

There was some good news though for the Comets camp.

“Ian (Webster) cruised through training,” Barnett said.

Webster limped out of the contest against Redcliffe with a leg injury that was thought to be serious, but he travelled to Cairns yesterday.

Also training well on Wednesday was new recruit and Rockhampton product Neale Wyatt.

“He'll probably struggle the first couple of weeks with playing long minutes,” Barnett said.

Wyatt has not played since the end of the French Rugby League season and will be handled carefully by the Comets coaching staff.

“Neale's football-smart. He knows where and when he can take a break,” Barnett said.

“Wyatt has only been back in Rockhampton for a few days, but, by his own admission, has been around the block, in football terms.”

After playing in the local competition, Wyatt went on to play at the Brisbane Broncos, Toowoomba Clydesdales, the Celtic Crusaders and had two spells in France.

While the well-travelled lock enjoyed playing in France, he said the sport is only just beginning to make inroads in that country.

“When I initially went there in 2005 the standard wasn't very high,” he said.

“I returned in 2008 and there was a big improvement and it's gaining a lot more support. Now it is a fairly high standard.”

The language barrier was a hard one to scale, but Wyatt said he is now able to converse in French although he admits his efforts are not too pretty.

So does Wyatt agree with Barnett's assessment of where he is at with his fitness?

“I think Wayne hit the nail on the head,” he said.

“I haven't done anything for a couple of weeks, since the end of the season in France.”

Despite his recent arrival, Wyatt does not feel like a stranger in this Comets squad.

“There are a couple of guys I played with when I was at the Crusaders,” he said.

And, what does the future hold for Wyatt?

“I will assess that at the end of the season with the Comets,” he said.

While ruling out returning to France Wyatt said his assessment will be made on how his body might stand up to a further season of football.

And, how did Wyatt end up with his nickname of “Wasp”?

“We'll leave that one until we are having a beer at some stage,” he replied with a chuckle.



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