Newcastle Knights back-up fullback David Armstrong made his return on Sunday afternoon in the NSW Cup, but not in his usual position.

Instead of returning at fullback for the Knights' reserve grade side, the youngster - who played five NRL games prior to his injury - returned on the wing for the Knights.

Playing in a 42 points to 22 beatdown of the Penrith Panthers, Armstrong would cross for a try-scoring double from out wide, but it was his position which raised eyebrows.

After coming directly into the NRL side following a foot injury to usual fullback Kalyn Ponga earlier this season, Armstrong had four strong performances to kick his career into gear in the top grade, only to lose his way in what was his final game before picking up an injury.

Since then, Armstrong, who is off-contract at the end of the 2024 campaign with the Knights and is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal, has spent plenty of time in the media, with the youngster reportedly being chased by rival clubs both in Australia and England.

It was understood at one point that the Sydney Roosters had offered him a move to Bondi, but the youngster was going to turn his back on all the rivals to re-sign with the Knights on a deal which would have likely seen him become a winger in the top grade next year while continuing to play back-up to Kalyn Ponga - a player he could continue learning from.

The Knights are understandably desperate to retain Armstrong's services.

What that all meant for Armstrong's NRL fullback replacement Fletcher Sharpe - another gun youngtser coming through the Newcastle system - remained to be seen.

However, the certainty of Armstrong remaining a Knight all flipped quickly when it was revealed he had asked the Knights for a release to take up a contract in England - likely with Leigh - from the start of 2025.

The lure behind Armstrong heading to England is obvious - become a starting fullback in a top competition and build a resume of work before returning to Australia.

It's also believed the financial incentives behind a move to England were enormous.

But in the meantime, it may mean Armstrong is limited to a bit-part role for the remainder of 2024 at the Knights as the club put resources into Sharpe in the NRL, and Sunday's NSW Cup fullback Hayden Sutton, as well as young English spine player Will Pryce who has impressed wherever he has been thrown this season.

Ponga won't return to the NRL until a forecast Round 22, potentially leaving Sharpe now with the inside running on rights to the Knights' number one jersey for quite some time if Armstrong continues to line up on the wing at NSW Cup level.

Armstrong's double on his return in the rout over Penrith - where he also had plenty of other nice moments at both ends of the park - will do little to harm his chances of coming back into the NRL picture over the second half of the season.

The Knights have enough depth in their outside backs, with ex-Panther Thomas Jenkins left out of the first-grade side to play the Penrith Panthers on Sunday afternoon, so the chance of Armstrong moving anywhere in the back five at NRL level apart from fullback this season seems slim.

Armstrong will likely again play NSW Cup next weekend against the Sydney Roosters in Gosford, but whether at fullback or on the wing remains to be seen.