Former Knights NRL playmaker Ryan Stig is being chased by as many as five Newcastle league clubs for this season as he weighs up his future after five years out of the game.
The 28-year-old, who broke into the Knights top side back in 2011 only to be struck down by a mystery illness early the following season that could have killed him, has taken the tentative steps towards a comeback.
He has been training over the pre-season with the Knights NSW Cup squad and played the final 20 minutes in a trial against Wentworthville at Maitland a fortnight ago.
But he picked up a rib injury that kept him out of contention for selection for the season-opener against Blacktown on Friday night.
While he is keen to pursue a deal with the Knights, Stig understands there may be nothing on offer until he proves himself over a longer period.
“I need to be playing some games and there has been some interest from local clubs which I’m looking closely at,”Stig said.
“After being out for so long, I’ve got to be realistic about my chances of playing again at NRL level.”
The Newcastle Herald understands the five local clubs are Western Suburbs, Central Newcastle, Cessnock, Lakes United and South Newcastle although it is understood he has already ruled out going to the Lions.
“There are some really good options there with employment part of the deal in a few of them so it’s a matter of weighing some things up,”he said.
“It looks like it will be a strong competition.
“I also want to talk to Darren Mooney at the Knights as well before making a call. But I want to try and get things sorted pretty soon.”
Wests coach Matt Lantry confirmed he has spoken to Stig about becoming a Rosella this season.
“Yeah, I’ve had a good chat to him and we’d love to have him at out club but there are a few other clubs in the same boat so I am not overly confident,”Lantry said.
“I was playing at Maitland when Ryan came into grade as a young bloke. He is a great fella who would really fit in here but in the end, the decision is up to him.
“He has some really good offers elsewhere as well.”