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By WYNNE GRAY
Hired help Julian Huxley will make a hit-and-run dash to help Northland's bid to stay in the NPC first division.
It was the answer Northland had been hoping for after reopening negotiations with Queensland to release the first five-eighths from a Super 12 training camp with the Reds.
When Huxley joined up for the NPC campaign it was to help his rehabilitation from injury and fill the provincial void at first five-eighths.
Wooden-spooners last year, Northland did not dare contemplate being involved in an extra match this season.
But after a series without a victory, Northland have been pitched into a promotion-relegation match with Nelson Bays at Trafalgar Park in Nelson on Saturday.
Huxley, who missed most of this year's Super 12 because of several leg injuries, had returned to Queensland for the Reds' first training camp.
"We knew he had to go back, that he had commitments with the Reds," Northland chief executive Tim Hamilton said.
"But we did not bank on being in the promotion-relegation game. We entered into discussions with Queensland and they have been more than reasonable.
"In fact, it was great to hear Huxley will be back with us for this game."
The 25-year-old Huxley will leave Queensland tomorrow and link up with his provincial team-mates in Nelson for a training run before the final.
Hamilton said there were no plans for Huxley to return to play for Northland next season.
"He controlled our backline really well and we hope that continues this weekend.
"But next year we hope to bring on some of our own players."
In recent years Northland have used players such as James Arlidge on loan from Auckland, Jared Going, Regan Finch, Hayden Taylor, Tony Monaghan and David Holwell as first five-eighths.
It may be a case of retreading one of that group for next year's campaign.
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