Sam Bourke loo...
10 hours ago
The New Zealand Warriors are attempting to track down the mystery man of Southern Hemisphere football, Brad Thorn, and launch an audacious bid for his services next season.
Thorn, though, is proving an elusive target and at present he isn't even registering as a "blip" on the Warriors' radar.
The Warriors are in the market for a second rower and there is no better free agent than Thorn, the former Brisbane Bronco and Australian rugby league international, who then switched to rugby.
Thorn represented the Crusaders in the Super 12 and Canterbury in the NPC and he was then selected for the John Mitchell-coached All Blacks tour to Europe at the end of last year.
In a clear insight into a character which is more upright than a cathedral spire, he said he couldn't tour because he was undecided whether his future lay in rugby or rugby league.
In terms of sport, it hasn't lain anywhere this season. Thorn is playing neither code and it is understood no one has signed him for next season.
A second row of Thorn and Ali Lauiti'iti is a mouth-watering proposition but Watson acknowledges it is a long way from happening.
He has attempted to email Thorn and contact him through his one-time manager, David Phillips, and his last-ditch effort will be a delivery to his Brisbane home address.
"No one can find him," he said.
"I spoke to David Phillips and he said that fundamentally he doesn't know whether he is managing him any more because he hasn't been able to find him for six months.
"He doesn't know where he is. He has emailed him and phoned him. It is a mystery. We can't find him."
"I would love to have a chat with him if we could find him," he said.
The Warriors approached Thorn last year and felt back then they had a reasonable chance of contracting him for this year.
"He had a prospectus from us, a contract in his hand and I felt we were a very good chance," Watson said. "We thought we were incredibly close and I admit I was holding my breath. But who knows. This guy is a high-integrity guy and no one knows what makes him tick."
Brisbane has no chance of signing Thorn because he would bust the salary cap - something that News Ltd clubs have been warned cannot happen.
In another cross-code development, the Warriors have been approached by two Waratah Super 12 players about joining the club next year. The pair was among 20 players who replied to a Warriors advertisement in Australia. The club needs a second rower and a centre.
Watson said an outside back from the Waratahs interested the club, especially as he had played rugby league.
Watson will meet with players when he travels to Australia next Friday for the Warriors match against the Canberra Raiders.
The Warriors snared Brent Webb from the Queensland Cup competition and Watson confirmed they are interested in another cup player