Knights poised to sign Raiders hooker

DISCARDED Canberra Raiders hooker Travis Waddell is set to resurrect his NRL career at Newcastle after his shock selection in the Indigenous All Stars squad yesterday. 

Cut by the Raiders at the end of last season, the 23-year-old has spent the past few months training with Queensland Cup side Souths-Logan and working eight-hour days at a steel company.

But Waddell is believed to be on the verge of inking a deal with the Knights and will travel to Newcastle to meet players and officials early next week. 

As starting hooker Waddell will be looking to help the Indigenous side beat Wayne Bennett’s NRL All Stars, giving him an ideal opportunity to impress the Knights coach.

Newcastle have been looking for an experienced rake to deputise for first-choice No.9 Danny Buderus and are poised to offer Waddell a second-tier deal. 

Waddell is the first NRL non-contracted player to be selected for the All Stars game in its four-year history. Raiders prop David Shillington, the club’s NRL All Stars representative, has no doubt Waddell still has plenty to offer at the top level. 

He said his shock All Stars call-up could be just the boost he needed.

‘‘I rate Travvy. I reckon he’s a great hooker,’’ Shillington said. ‘‘He’s incredibly tough defensively and revs up the big forwards and gets them going forward.

‘‘He probably suffered previously as well because I think they [Canberra] tried to offload him the year before after a quiet year, and he never really recovered from that. He played great when he played for us last year, and if he gets picked up by somebody, he’ll be pretty invaluable for them.’’

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