Australian domestic news 2008-09 March 20, 2009

Watson wants to join the Blues

Cricinfo staff

Shane Watson wants to be closer to his partner Lee Furlong © Getty Images

Shane Watson looks like leaving Queensland and crossing the border to New South Wales so he can live with his Sydney-based partner. There was talk of Watson heading south last winter, but this time his desire to move is stronger and his departure would leave another big gap in the Bulls squad.

"This is something I have been thinking about for the past year," Watson told the Courier-Mail. "It is about trying to find out what I want from my personal life and getting that balance right. The move will help me achieve that. I have had a heart to heart with a few people and everyone has been good about it."

If the deal with New South Wales is completed he will be the second home-grown international to leave for personal reasons after Mitchell Johnson moved to Western Australia at the start of the season. Queensland have also lost Martin Love to retirement in another blow to their senior stocks.

Watson, who started his first-class career in Tasmania to avoid the long playing queue in Brisbane, said the situation was "difficult" because Queensland had treated him well. "I'm very grateful for the support they have given me since I was very young," he said. "I have got a lot of mates up here and my family have been great as well."

Over the past season Watson took his biggest Test steps, playing five matches in a row before succumbing to stress fractures in his back. He finished the summer as a specialist batsman and hopes to be bowling again in the Indian Premier League.

While Watson's recovery is on track, Phil Jaques continues to struggle after having back surgery following his early exit from the tour of India last year. Jaques returned to play a couple of games for New South Wales, but missed the final match when the injury became worse.

The setback may force Jaques into another operation, which is more bad news in his quest to regain a Test opening spot. His manager Warren Craig told AAP Jaques wanted to get the problem fixed.