Comets captain Nat Bowman has left the club for Townsville.
Comets captain Nat Bowman has left the club for Townsville. File

CQ Comets lose star playmaker

JUST when the Central Queensland Comets looked set and prepared for 2010 it has been rocked by the news its livewire captain Nat Bowman is returning to Townsville.

“Nat is leaving for personal reasons,” Comets coach Wayne Barnett revealed.

Bowman and his partner made the decision to return to Townsville and while disappointed, the Comets respect his decision.

“We have released Nat to Townsville Brothers,” he said.

“He is still signed with us and so it is unlikely he will play with another Queensland Cup side.”

While losing their star playmaker with the season barely eight weeks away, Barnett is not discouraged and believes the club has left the door ajar in case the player wishes to rejoin the Comets.

“He is gone but not forgotten,” Barnett said with a smile.

“We may get Nat back in a month or two.”

While Barnett may be hopeful for a change of mind, there are no plans to draft in another playmaker as the coach is confident he has the position covered by either Reece Baker or Paddy Fray.

Baker has been described as a teenage sensation, making his name in the local grand final for Brothers when he scored a hat-trick of tries.

That performance pushed Baker closer to recognition with the Comets as both he and Fray were called into the Queensland Cup squad late in the season.

“One door closes and another one opens,” Barnett philosophised.

Not that Barnett wants to downplay the part Bowman played in the Comets line-up.

“Nat was our X-factor,” he said.

While having a player capable of producing the unexpected is exciting, Barnett sees it as a bonus and not the cornerstone of the Comets game.

“If we have to rely on that X-factor then we are doing something wrong,” he claimed.

First area for Barnett and his coaching team to work on is the kicking duties which Bowman used to undertake.

“We’ll try some out on Wednesday (training),” Barnett said.

Welsh international Ian Webster is one who would put his hand up for that job having recently kicked a record number of conversions in the European Cup match against Serbia.

The Comets first training session at Browne Park since the Christmas break was held on Monday night and gave Barnett something he could smile about.

“We had our ‘beep test’ and the boys maintained their fitness over Christmas,” he said.

With the players in good physical condition it means the coaching staff can spend more time on skill work.

With the trial games coming up Barnett is keen to get the squad sorted out as quickly as possible.

“On Friday I will split the squad into full time and part time players,” he announced.

Barnett will then work with his group of players who form the core of the Comets squad in 2010 but pledged part time players will be kept under observation and their progress monitored.

Also this Friday is a combined session with the Brahmans rugby union representative team.

“It will help the Brahmans and help us do a defensive session,” the coach stated.

“It is something different and cross-code training is getting popular.

“Yesterday (Monday) we warmed up with European handball.”

Barnett said he was looking forward to his Comets having a run against the Brahmans.

“It’s another body type we have to tackle against,” he beamed.

The session also gives both codes an opportunity to look at who they have and may attract.

The Comets also go into the 2010 season with a fresh look.

“We wanted to make the boys look the part,” Comets chief executive officer Scott Minto said.

The new kit and training gear is a part of the professional image of the club.

“It is modelled on the Broncos gear and provides our sponsors with better exposure.”

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