NATHAN Ross wants what he believes is fair and is prepared to leave the Knights to get it.
The cult hero has another year to run on his contract but is seeking an upgrade commensurate to what he is delivering on the park.
“I’m not asking for a million dollars like all these other guys,” Ross said. “I’m not even asking for half of that. I don’t operate like that. I just want what is fair, and to set my family up. In November I can talk to other clubs. I hope it doesn’t get to that. I had some interest from England before I recommitted to the Knights and have some bigger clubs looking at me now.”
Ross’ manager, Gavin Orr, has approached the Knights about upgrading and extending the winger’s contract.
The Herald understands the club is keen to keep the late bloomer long term but is yet to finalise a proposal.
Ross, 28, inked a two-year extension, believed to be about $150,000 a season, with the Knights last August.
Since then he has cemented a place on the left wing, represented City and caught the attention of NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley.
He is the Knights’ leading try-scorer with seven and tops the statistics in metres run (1364m) and line breaks (six). His 21 tackle busts are second to Dane Gagai (51).
“I am aware what signing a contract means,” he said.
“My position in the squad has changed significantly. When you get a promotion in a workplace, you generally get a raise.
“I think within the squad my stocks have risen a lot higher since I re-signed last year.
“I’m not trying to bleed the club dry. I give everything I have for the club, not just on the field but the work I do in the community. I want to be paid what I deserve.”
Ross’s partner Nikea gave birth to their second child, daughter Willow, on Tuesday.
After surviving on a second-tier contract early in his career, the 28-year-old wants to “make hay while the sun shines”.
“I have to make sure my family is well supported, especially now I’m a father of two,” he said.
“I don’t want to leave Newcastle. My kids were born here, my partner is from here and I consider myself a Novocastrian. I love our fans and I love the club but at the end of the day it is a business. I feel like I am holding up my end.”
Conjecture over Ross’ long-term future adds to the likely departure next season of Queensland winger Dane Gagai to South Sydney.
Meanwhile, back-rower Mitch Barnett insists he is ready to go despite returning from an ankle injury three weeks ahead of schedule
“I was little bit shocked that I’m straight into the 17,” Barnett said “It gives me confidence that he has faith in me. I was really aggressive with the rehab.I came in early and kept my conditioning up through upper-body cardio. I was constantly getting physio on it, coming in on Saturday and Sunday. I had to be aggressive and push through the pain. Everything lined up for me.”
Barnett said he was disappointed with his form before the injury which added to his motivation.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I was playing and wanted to get back out there as soon as possible to turn my season around,” he said.