TYRONE Amey will have gone full circle when he lines up for 2019 grand finalists Cessnock next season.
Amey, who made his NRL debut for the Knights at the end of 2017 and has more recently been with Queensland Cup side Easts Tigers, returns to the Newcastle Rugby League club after playing for the Goannas four years ago.
Cessnock coach Todd Edwards said the 23-year-old prop would be a welcome addition at a new-look Goannas, who host Maitland in the opening round of 2020 on Saturday, April 18.
"He's tough and he's old school," Edwards said.
"He probably should have played in the 1980s."
Amey was on Edwards' radar earlier this year once Cessnock veteran Brendan Hlad, now retired, indicated he'd be finishing up.
The pair, Amey and Edwards, crossed paths previously in the Knights junior representative ranks and briefly at Lakes in 2018 despite not donning the uniform for any games while on NSW Cup duty.
Amey has signed a one-year deal and Edwards would eventually like to extend his stay at the Coalfields outfit.
"I've worked with him before and know what type of player he is," Edwards said.
"It was mid year, probably three or four months before the grand final, I started thinking about Brendan [Hlad] retiring and our front row.
"He had offers to stay [at East Tigers] and to go to Souths Logan, but he ended up moving back down this way and signed with us for next year.
"I'd like to get him longer term. I'm very interested in extending that."
Amey won't be the only new front-rower in Cessnock's forward pack with Liam McAvoy agreeing to terms from English League 1 club Newcastle Thunder.
Guy Thompson (Campbelltown), Group 21 player of the year when at Aberdeen in 2018, joins the Goannas while Robert Tuliatu (London Scholars) returns fresh from helping Greece qualify for the World Cup.
Kodie Charles (Belmont South) and Isaac Briggs (Macquarie) link back up with brothers Josh and Scott respectively.
Former Lakes pivot Nick Newman (Thunder) strengthens the halves. Josh Griffiths (Wellington Cowboys - group 11) and Emmanuel Sithole (Lakes) provide outside backs.
Paul Carter and Dan Metcalf are losses.
"We've lost a few, but picked up a couple as well," Edwards said.
"Other negotiations are still ongoing, but I'm confident in the group we've got."
Meanwhile, next year's Newcastle RL draw was officially released on Thursday with Cessnock and defending champions Western Suburbs set to meet in round two for a grand final replay at Harker Oval on Anzac Day.
Wests will be up against former coach Matt Lantry and several ex-teammates in round eight when the Rosellas travel to Maitland Sportsground on June 14.
The 2020 decider has been locked in for September 20.
A fourth pre-season All Stars event kicks off proceedings on March 21.
The Rebels representative squad clash with Sydney-based Ron Massey Cup on May 16 and the NSW Pioneers then take on the Queensland Rangers on the weekend of June 20-21.