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Bennett's belief in patient Waddell

Bennett's belief in patient Waddell
Travis Waddell has been named to make his first NRL appearance as a Bronco this week. Copyright: Brisbane Broncos.

Cut from Canberra at the end of 2012 and cutting steel in a Brisbane factory months later, Travis Waddell was a man looking for an opportunity.

Advised by others to steer clear, then Knights coach Wayne Bennett invited him into his home in January 2013 and soon signed him to a contract with Newcastle.

When Bennett left at the end of the 2014 season and Waddell was no longer wanted in Newcastle, he took him to Brisbane and after 18 months of toil on the training paddock he gets his first NRL start with the Broncos this Sunday.

A member of Brisbane's team that contested the World Club Series in England in February, the hamstring injury to durable No.9 Andrew McCullough last weekend has opened the way for 26-year-old Waddell to add to his tally of 73 NRL games.

Prior to McCullough's injury it was entirely feasible that Waddell could go two years at the Broncos without ever running on in an NRL fixture but he takes the full confidence of his coach and teammates into his club debut against the Sharks this weekend.

"I don't know what I saw in him," Bennett told NRL.com.

"A couple of guys rang me up about him from memory and I thought I'd give him a chance and see how he goes from there.

"There were plenty of reasons why I shouldn't have taken him that people were telling me as well but we gave him the opportunity and he hasn't let me down.

"Travis to me is what the game is all about. He's just an average guy doing his best every week and trying his hardest for you. That's Trav.

"He has to work hard at everything he does, he's prepared to do that and he does his best when he gets out there on the footy field. That's what I like about him.

"He's as honest as the day is long and I know what I'll get out of him on Sunday. He'll be doing his absolute best for us.

"I like that."

 


Broncos captain Corey Parker has trained alongside the four-time Indigenous All Stars representative for the past two seasons and is pleased that he will get to lead him out onto the field on Sunday.

"Throughout the season you're going to get people that can come in and fill a void while there are some players out," Parker said.

"Trav has played a lot of first grade so he knows how to get the job done. He's been playing some great footy for Souths [Logan] and he gets an opportunity and looking forward to getting out there with him.

"If you've watched him train he's certainly professional in the way he goes about his business. He played in England with us so everyone has played alongside Trav at some stage and he'll do a job for us."

Although he has been unseen in the top grade since returning to Brisbane, Bennett assured Broncos fans that the character he first saw more than three years ago will be there for all to see come Sunday.

"They'll know that already. They'll know that I wouldn't put him in the team if I thought he'd let the team down," Bennett said.

"There'll be no one out there who is a Broncos fan second guessing Travis Waddell.

"He's done all the things you've got to do here and he's got a reward for it."

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