Versatile backrower Luke Yates has worked harder than most during his career to realise his dream of playing for Newcastle in the NRL.
But after featuring in 25 games over the past two seasons for the club, the Wests Rosellas’ junior is facing the prospect of having to continue his professional career in England with the Knights confirming he won’t be re-signed for next season.
The nuggety, tough-tackling forward is currently holidaying overseas and will sit down with his management within the next fortnight to work through his options.
It’s understood English club Salford have expressed interest in the 23-year-old but Yates’ agent Steve Gillis told the Newcastle Herald he does not have a formal offer from anywhere yet.
“He’s back from holidays on the weekend and I’ll be up in Newcastle on Saturday week to sit down with him and sort through his potential options,”Gillis said.
Asked was the English Super League his likely destination, Gillis said:
“We haven’t got an offer for him but we are fishing in England and still fishing here. But there is nothing concrete out there for him yet.”
After making his NRL debut in the opening round in 2017 and going on to play 19 games that season, Yates found the going much tougher to crack the top grade last season, coming off the bench spasmodically in just six matches.
But to his credit, he never dropped his bundle and finished with the player of the year and the players’ player awards in the Knights’ NSW Cup campaign.
Gillis believes it is not out of the question he could still be picked up by a rival NRL club.
“There has been some interest but it’s the same everywhere. Clubs are looking at their rosters and their slots,” he said.
“It’s a bit like getting into the Everest field. Clubs have got 30 slots and six development slots and if you are not in there, you are not in the fight. If the slots are full, the club can’t entertain you no matter who you are.
“But Yatesy is too good a player not to be playing somewhere professionally so we are confident, we will find him a home.”
Earlier this year, Yates said his footy career would remain a priority even if the door closed at the Knights.
“Obviously, I love Newcastle and it’s my home, so if I can stay here it would be great but if not, I’m going to have to leave,” he said.
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