Michael Witt NZ Warriors linked to Penrith PanthersOnly 2 weeks out from NRL kick-off, it seems the Warriors are ready to ditch Michael Witt from their season plans writes Gavin Fox. Witt has struggled to really find a home in recent years, with the instinctive half failing to secure long stints at both Parramatta and Manly.

Originally a half-back, Witt has spent more time at pivot with the Warriors and was seemingly travelling nicely with the club – but it seems coach Ivan Cleary doesn’t have the Austrlian in his plans for 2009.

Witt hasn’t played in any of the top line NZ Warriors trials this year and the arrival of Joel Moon who coach Cleary sees as a possible halves pairing for Fien could be the reason that Witt is on the outer.

Set to play in only a lower grade trial match this weekend, it’s believed Penrith have put the feelers out for Witt if the half should return to Australia. The Panthers continue their seemingly endless search for a halves solution and Witt could be a viable option.

Obviously frustrated, Witt blew the whistle on the situation earlier this week when he spoke on Auckland radio.

“I haven’t played in any of the trials and I guess that would suggest that Ivan doesn’t really have me in his plans for this year, and that he is looking at other players in that position,” Witt stated.

“He said that the club is going in a certain direction and unfortunately Michael Witt is not part of that. He hasn’t broken it down a hell of a lot but I guess they are looking at some new options in that position at five-eighth and I’m not really one of those.”

Apparently UK Super League outfit Hull has also been in touch with Witt, but at this stage the out of favour Warrior isn’t keen to head to England. While only early stages, Witt believes he will ride out the current pressure and hopefully force his way back into the side through more hard work.

“I’ve had a really good pre-season and I’ve been training hard so I’m just going to try and put my best foot forward and see what eventuates,” he said.

It’s a move that will surprise many, with Stacey Jones back with the NZ Warriors for 2009 and the strong form of Nathan Fiend more recently in the halves – the rotation of those two, with Witt playing at no. 6 was a combination many opposing teams would fear.

With such an elusive style and a smart kicking game, Witt does have plenty to offer. However, at this stage – the Warriors trash might just be the Panthers’ treasure if they can lure the pivot back to Sydney.

By ricky

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