Free agent and premiership player Kyle Turner remains hopeful of an NRL lifeline as he sits in limbo without a team after not being given a new contract at the end of the 2019 season.
Turner, 27, was a key contributor in South Sydney’s historic 2014 premiership side and believes he can still impact the league in the same fashion next season.
I’m still on the lookout for a club, so my partner and I moved all our stuff back (to Coonabarabran) to spend some time with the family during the Christmas break and wait to see if anything comes up,” Turner told Fox Sports.
“We’ve been waiting to hear from a couple of clubs. It’s been a pretty tough year. I think there have been a lot of quality players who have had to wait towards this end part to sign. It’s pretty hard, mate, but it is what it is.
“You always hope to be signed around this time, but it just turned out this way. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. It’s a business at the end of the day so I’ve just got to take it as it comes.”
Turner made his league debut with the Rabbitohs during their grand final year and ends his South Sydney tenure with 91 NRL matches.
Despite being told to look elsewhere by his childhood club, Turner admits there are no bad feeling between him and Souths.
“Wayne came up to me, I think it was about halfway through the year, and said: ‘Look mate, as shocking as this might be, we don’t really want to get rid of you, but salary cap wise, we just can’t keep you on’,” Turner added.
“I just said: ‘Thanks mate, I appreciate the honesty’.
“It sort of gave me time to sort something out. My manager and I were both confident that something would arise, but unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out that way. It probably never does work out the way people want it to.”
Turner joins the likes of Josh Hoffman, Michael Lichaa, Aaron Gray, Danny Fualalo and Jacob Gagan as a number of players remain unsigned heading into 2020.
The former Country Origin and Indigenous All Stars representative has been sure to keep potential clubs invested.
“My manager and I have basically reached out to a couple clubs (to say) that we’re interested and looking to continue footy,” Turner said.
“We just haven’t heard much back. I’m just waiting to hear, waiting for that phone call.
“It’s not all about the money. It’s about the opportunity, where it’s going to be. There are a lot of factors that come into it.
“Money’s definitely not up there with the top of it so we’re not fussed about that.
“You know, my partner and I have always said if I can play until I’m 30 I’d be very happy. I’m coming up to 28.”
Turner was attached to a potential switch to the Super League earlier this season, with a move yet to be ruled out.
“I’ve got a young family. We’re keen on travelling and my young fella’s only nine months old so he’s not at school yet,” he said.
“I’d love to do it. It’d be a great opportunity. From what I hear and from everyone I’ve spoken to about it, they’ve loved the lifestyle over there.
“The people are great over there, so it’s just getting used to the cold weather, but I think that’s only a little thing.”
2019 saw the Rabbitohs conjure a depleted backline after a number of key players suffered injury, with several names being made to move out of position.
Turner mostly featured as a forward for South Sydney, but spent some time in centre proving his versatility.
“I like to think that’s a positive that a club could utilise,” Turner said.
“I actually really enjoyed playing centre. I was a bit nervous at first, but I think Wayne created a pretty stress-free environment where if I stuffed up, it wouldn’t matter much.
“It was a really easy transition there.”
While no sign of a move is clear, Turner is persistent on stating finely tuned for a call-up.
“Just the stock-standard going to the gym each day and doing a bit of cardio or running on the field afterwards,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem trying to keep myself fit. I always stress about not being fat when I each chocolate and things like that.
“It’s never really been an issue which is a good thing from what I hear.”