Group 20 rugby league
WARATAH Tigers product Michael Henderson has confirmed he will play in Group Nine next season but it won't be with Tumut.
In a shock move, the former NRL prop has signed as captain-coach with Temora.
Henderson's decision ends speculation his move from Illawarra club Thirroul to Tumut was a foregone conclusion, and also officially kills off any hope of a fairytale return to his junior club in Griffith. The Area News understands discussions between Henderson and Tumut came to a stalemate over the Christmas break and when news of his availability became public, the Dragons were quick to get back in contact with the 29-year-old.
"It's a good opportunity to coach, like Tumut was, but Temora were very easy to deal with and I've just got a good feeling about it," Henderson told The Area News.
"It's one of those things, but it's worked out well. They won the 18s comp in the last two years so they've got a good junior base.
"They always have had that, but they lose a lot of kids to Wagga.
"If we can keep a nucleus of young blokes together and bring a few through, we can have a really good season."
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But even though Henderson will be suiting up in Group 20's rival competition, there is still a chance he could be flying the flag for Griffith in some capacity.
The ex-St George and Gold Coast forward refused to close the door on a possible representative run this year, which could include an appearance for the returning Riverina outfit.
"I've heard the Riverina team's coming back and it wouldn't be a bad side at all," he said.
"There's a few blokes that've come down from Sydney and it might give some of the other teams a bit of a show.
"It all depends. I won't rule it out yet but I'll have a discussion with the club about it first. My main focus is to have a good season with Temora.
"I'm not a young bloke looking to play rep - there's a bit of travelling and I've got a family."
Henderson and his family will move to Temora just before Australia Day and he will take his first pre-season training session the week after.
His wife's mother was actually born in Temora and that side of the family provided the link to the Dragons. Henderson described his wife's grandfather as a "Dragons legend" and it was through him that contact was re-established.