REEGAN Tanner was almost convinced his days as an NRL player were over when he agreed to return home to Newcastle Rugby League club Kurri Kurri at the start of the season Almost.The 26-year-old, who grew up playing for Kurri and dreaming of the Knights, had one last, lingering thought that he might still have something to offer.And well he should.Not many players that have achieved what Tanner did in his five seasons and 83 first-grade appearances for the Knights are left on the NRL scrap heap at 25.The hard-working lock-forward played every game in the 2005 season and was the only Knight to do so.He backed that up with 24 games for the Knights in 2006 and 12 in 2007 before being cut and reduced to spending last season in the NSW Cup playing for Central Coast Storm."I guess there is always a part of you that wants to keep playing at the highest level possible," Tanner said."If something came up I would definitely consider it, but I just want to focus on Kurri and trying to get the side into the semi-finals."Playing representative footy is good fun and a way of keeping you in the eye of selectors, but returning to the NRL is something I've almost given up on, to be honest."Not surprisingly Tanner was selected in the Newcastle team who thumped their opponents in the first two matches of the Regional Championships last weekend.Tanner was part of the side that defeated Central Hunter 42-18 last Saturday and Oxley Pioneers 60-12 on Sunday.Newcastle play their semi-final Saturday week, and a spot in the final should ensure several members of the team gain selection in the NSW Country team."Playing for NSW Country would be great, and every year they always seem to pick a couple of Country players in that [NSW] Residents team," Tanner said."Hopefully we can keep winning and a few of the boys get picked in the Country team."Tanner also has his sights set on returning the Bulldogs to the Real NRL semi-finals this season.Kurri last made the finals in 2000 under captain-coach Steve Crowe when they scraped through courtesy of a play-off for fifth place, only to lose the elimination semi-final to Cessnock.Their last premiership was in 1995, when they capped a hat-trick of titles."We haven't had a lot to celebrate in recent times up here and there is the chance to do that this season," Tanner said."We've got some experience this year with Quigs [Luke Quigley] and Todd [Polglase] and myself who have played at a higher level."There's a good mix of younger blokes, and if the senior players can perform like we should then anything is possible."