NRL Rd 24 - Rabbitohs v Cowboys
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 23: Robert Lui of the Cowboys passes during the round 24 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on August 23, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

NRL journeyman Robert Lui could be set for a shock return to the world's top rugby league competition.

Lui has reportedly signed a new deal with the Townsville Blackhawks, returning to Australia after a six-year stint playing in the English Super League where he has been regularly among the best players in the competition.

Tim Sheens was the man who originally brought him to England during his time at the Salford Red Devils, a club Lui would play 102 games at. That run followed 43 games at the Wests Tigers between 2009 and 2011, followed by 46 at the Cowboys between 2012 and 2015.

By the time he finished at the Cowboys, Lui was on the outer, sitting in reserve grade more often than he wasn't, and the move to England re-invograted his career.

Since finishing at Salford in 2019, he has played 25 games for the Leeds Rhinos, but has returned to Australia at the end of his current deal.

Wide World of Sports' The Mole is reporting that his move to Townsville to play with the Blackhawks could see Lui ultimately link up with his former NRL side the Cowboys.

The 31-year-old would remain behind signings Tom Dearden and Chad Townsend in the squad, as well as Scott Drinkwater, although speculation continues to mount that the former Storm player will link up wit the Newcastle Knights as a replacement for Mitchell Pearce.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 11: Scott Drinkwater of the Cowboys celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round five NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the North Queensland Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval, on April 11, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Former coach Tim Sheens said Lui could be a "surprise packet" in the NRL.

"He is a smart player and gained a lot of confidence in Super League - he could be a surprise packet," Sheens told the publication.

The move would come as a surprise however, given Lui announced his retirement for the end of the season in the middle of the year, with his last game at Leeds being a heavy loss to St Helens in the Super League semi-final.