The odds of fan favourite Nathan Ross leaving the Newcastle Knights to continue his playing career in England next season appear to be shortening with at least three Super League clubs said to be keen to sign him.
But there are suggestions the Knights may be forced to significantly top-up his $350,000-a-season deal that still has two years to run if an agreement is to be reached.
Ross re-signed with the Knights on an upgraded deal until the end of 2020 only mid-way through last year. But an injury-plagued 2018 has clouded his future at the club with his management told he is free to explore other options elsewhere.
That is a sure sign he is no longer wanted.
The Newcastle Herald has been told Huddersfield, Catalans and Warrington have all expressed interest in picking up Ross.
Huddersfield coach Simon Woolford, who spent a couple of seasons coaching at the Knights, has spoken personally to the flamboyant winger about the possibility of making the move to the Super League.
But Ross, who had successful surgery at the end of the season to re-attach a ruptured pelvic ligament that plagued him for much of the year, has made it clear to his management that he and his family don’t want to be financially disadvantaged if he is forced to leave the Knights.
Knights recruitment officer Troy Pezet is believed to have met with Ross’ management over the weekend to discuss his future but could not shed any further light on just where the negotiations are at.
“There is nothing new to tell. Negotiations are on-going,” Pezet said.
Only last month, Ross, who is back running again and hoping to start pre-season training on November 5 with the rest of the Knights squad, admitted he feels like he is in limbo.
“Once I'm fully fit, I'm confident I can get back to playing some really good footy again,” he said.
“But I’m not 100 per cent sure on where that will be.
“I love the club but if I'm honest, at this point in time, I don't know what my future holds.
“I certainly don't want to be moving anywhere else but in the end, it may not be my choice.”
With around $2.2 million still left in their salary cap for next season, the Knights can certainly afford to pay some of the freight for Ross’ departure if he can do a deal elsewhere.
How much will be the key. And with winger Ken Sio highly unlikely to be re-signed and the club taking an offer for young centre Cory Denniss off the table, there are those who will question the wisdom of also parting company with the versatile Ross, particularly if it becomes a costly exercise.
Meanwhile. Knights utility forward Luke Yates is still without a club for next season with his management trying to secure a deal in England, so far without success.
Knights coach Nathan Brown is believed to have played a role in trying to help Yates secure a Super League contract.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.