GRAFTON Rhinos rugby league club star centre Joe Ravueta will either be playing with the Rhinos or living in Fiji next season, a club spokesman says.
Ravueta, who has played the past two seasons with the Rhinos, is in the spotlight of Group 2 club Woolgoolga Seahorses, who claim they have the try-scoring machine's signature on a contract and a clearance.
But neither of those documents is worth the paper they're written on, Rhinos committeeman Pat Swift says.
Swift said Ravueta's contract with the Rhinos was linked to a sporting visa arranged through the Australian Immigration Department, which ties Ravueta to the club until October 31, 2013.
"Even if we were to sign a clearance, that would revoke his visa and he would have to go back home," Swift said.
"I've had to do a few of these things and I can tell you it's a bit more difficult than scratching out our name on the contract and putting in theirs.
"But this all means nothing. Joe's told me today that he hasn't signed anything and he's happy to play here.
"(NRRRL secretary) Doug Harrison has seen this and he says Joe's not going anywhere."
Swift said he thought he had dealt with this issue two months ago, when it arose.
"I spoke with their president at the time and he told me they were sitting on some paperwork," he said.
"He said he thought there was more to it than he thought and said he wasn't going to do anything with it."
However, the Seahorses are not backing down from their claims.
President Chris Hughes said Ravueta had signed with the club and pending a visa issue would run out in the blue and black next season.
"We've definitely signed him. I should know, I was there," Hughes told the Examiner yesterday.
"It was our last game of the season, against Macleay Valley, which was washed out.
"We were all at the pub and he signed. Our coach went and picked him up."
Woolgoolga first grade coach Greg Shuttleworth also verified Ravueta had signed with the Seagulls but was unsure if the Rhinos would be granting the star centre a release.
"At the end of the day we've signed Joe.
"He has always kept in touch with us," Shuttleworth said.
"We have applied for a clearance from the Rhinos but at this stage they've knocked us back.
"We'll just have to wait and see what happens in due course."
The Daily Examiner tried to arrange an interview with Ravueta, but he was unable to attend.
Additional reporting: Tim Howard
- Former Rhinos forward Ben Woods has agreed to terms with the Seahorses, along with Magpies' utility back Todd Cameron.