THE chances of Jarrod Mullen and Andrew Johns enjoying an emotional reunion at the Newcastle Knights appear remote, with the club showing little interest in signing Mullen.
Mullen was advised by the NRL integrity unit earlier this month that they would not oppose re-registering him if he can find an NRL club willing to offer him a contract.
The former NSW Origin playmaker, who made 211 appearances for the Knights between 2005 and 2016, completed a four-year steroid ban in January and played the 2021 season with Queensland Cup outfit Sunshine Coast Falcons.
The 34-year-old is committed to his dream of making a remarkable NRL comeback, but if that is to happen, it is unlikely to involve his former club.
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Even with Mitchell Pearce expected to confirm his departure to Catalans Dragons in coming days, the Knights do not view Mullen as a possible stopgap replacement, telling the Newcastle Herald on Thursday: "At this stage we don't have a spot for him in our top 30."
Mullen's manager, Steve Gillis, confirmed he had not heard from the Knights, nor other NRL clubs.
"It's probably a bit early," he said. "But to be fair, we weren't expecting anyone to roll out the red carpet."
Releasing Pearce will create a vacancy on Newcastle's roster, but it is understood the Knights' preference is to replace him with an established NRL playmaker.
Alternatively they may look to use the $550,000 Pearce would have earned to strengthen another position.
The Herald understands Newcastle officials have discussed Mullen but are unlikely to offer him even a "train-and-trial" contract.
The Knights announced on Tuesday that Johns, Newcastle's greatest-ever player, is rejoining the club as a coaching consultant, working specifically with the halves.
Johns was Mullen's teammate, and mentor, when the latter debuted in the NRL as an 18-year-old schoolboy.
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