WYONG may well land the most significant Newcastle Rugby League recruit for 2024, NRL premiership winner and current international Zane Tetevano training with the Roos on Thursday night.
Captain-coach Mitch Williams confirmed interest, discussions and a pre-season session with Tetevano, saying "we're aware of how big a signing it would be for the club".
Although yet to put pen to paper, if Tetevano struck a deal at Wyong next year he would become the sixth high-profile player to join the competition ranks since the Newcastle RL grand final three months ago.
"He [Tetevano] was at training, but he's not signed at the moment. It would be nice if he was," Williams said.
"Definitely in discussions, but he's still got a couple of NRL offers he's working through at the moment.
"We're kind of at an understanding that if he's not there [NRL club] he'll be at Wyong, but until anything's signed I'm not getting ahead of myself by any means."
Tetevano played 121 NRL games for three clubs (Knights, Roosters, Panthers) across a decade (2011-2020) before making 47 appearances for English Super League outfit Leeds (2021-2023).
The versatile forward, who turned 33 last month, suffered a stroke earlier in 2023 but eventually recovered to represent Cook Islands in October as part of the Pacific Championships.
Tetevano, born in Waikato, has also worn the New Zealand jersey on three occasions, twice played at the World Cup (2013, 2022) and helped the Roosters win an NRL title in 2018.
"A forward like that potentially takes us from being a four-to-six team to a top-three team," Williams said.
Wyong were eliminated in the first week of Newcastle RL finals this year.
Tetevano previously crossed paths with Williams at the Knights and has played NSW Cup at the Roos.
He also spoke with Cessnock recently.
As reported by the Newcastle Herald in September, former Knights and Dragons back Peter Mata'utia had been linked with several local clubs upon his potential return home from English Super League.
Lakes, who finished eighth on the ladder in 2023 with six wins, eventually secured Mata'utia's signature.
"The competition has never been stronger, when you think about the players who are willing to come back and test themselves," Williams said.
The likes of Brock Lamb (Maitland), Frank-Paul Nu'uausala (Souths) and Brayden Musgrove (Cessnock) are each poised to continue in 2024.