THE Newcastle Knights are exploring the prospect of bringing home-grown junior Anthony Quinn back to finish his National Rugby League career where it started.
Homesick after six seasons at the Storm, which included two grand final appearances and one premiership that was later stripped by the NRL, Quinn will return to Newcastle shortly to begin working as an electrician once he completes his TAFE studies in Melbourne.
The former NSW Origin winger has held informal discussions this month with Knights chief executive and former Newcastle teammate Matt Gidley about the possibility of him rejoining the club they both left at the end of 2006.
The Knights have little room to move under the salary cap but the Newcastle Herald has been told they are investigating whether they can include Quinn, pictured, as a second-tier player.
A source told the Herald the Knights could possibly squeeze Quinn into their second-tier cap after missing out on former NSW prop Justin Poore, who signed for English Super League club Wakefield Trinity.
"He's a quality player, he's an experienced player, he's played Origin, he's won a comp at Melbourne, and he's a Knights junior, so why wouldn't you try to get him back at the club," a source with knowledge of negotiations told the Herald.
Quinn has rejected an offer to remain at the Storm because he and his wife, Frances, and their 14-month-old daughter, Summer, want to be closer to their families. Quinn's mother, Annette, and other family members still live in Newcastle, and Frances's family live in Sydney.
It is understood two Sydney-based NRL clubs have expressed interest in signing Quinn to a short-term contract but his preference is to live in Newcastle and, if he is to continue his league career, play for the Knights under coach Wayne Bennett.
"I'm going to be in Newcastle no matter what, so you wouldn't rule it out," Quinn told the Herald last night when asked if rejoining the Knights was an option.
"If we can work something out, that would be great. A major factor there is, I'd be very pleased and honoured to be welcomed back to the Knights and be coached by Wayne. For him to want me to be there, that would be a good experience for me, and I'd just be happy to be a part of the Knights again. I'd be forever in debt to Wayne and Matty Gids and everyone else at the Newcastle Knights if that was to happen."
The Knights have a policy of not speaking to the Herald about player retention and recruitment.
Though his career began at the Knights in 2002 and he has played 103 games for both Newcastle and Melbourne, Quinn does not turn 30 until January.
A career-threatening neck condition and other injuries restricted him to just nine games for the Storm in each of the 2009 and 2010 seasons but he made a full recovery to play 15 games in 2011 and another 20 this year.
AAP reports: Mitchell Pearce could emerge as Sydney Roosters' long-term captain next year, as long as he puts his off field distractions behind him, according to new coach Trent Robinson.
Pearce endured an inconsistent season on the field this year with his reported playboy antics and a rift with former coach Brian Smith often cited as reasons the NSW halfback did not reach the heights expected of him.
But with a sharper focus on and off the field in 2013 and a better support network around him at the Roosters, Robinson said Pearce could succeed Wests Tigers-bound Braith Anasta as skipper and lead the club for a number of years.