AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 05: Kevin Naiqama of the Tigers looks on during the round nine NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium on May 5, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Former Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers and St Helens outside back Kevin Naiqama has his eye set on one final NRL contract before hanging up the boots.

Naiqama, who has played 178 first-grade rugby league games, with 113 of them in the NRL and another 65 at St Helens since he moved there from the Tigers in 2019, has returned to Australia owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges living away from home.

While it was very unclear if any NRL clubs would show interest in the cult hero, or whether he would be forced into hanging up the boots, it now appears a last chance lifeline is dangling for the talented outside back, who has scored 84 tries in his rugby league career. 35 of those came during his 90 games with the Wests Tigers.

The younger brother of Wes Naiqama, Kevin is now 32, but still has plenty left to offer after impressing during his time abroad with St Helens.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, Naiqama has interest on the table from both the Sydney Roosters and former club the Tigers.

It's understood Sam Ayoub is acting as manager for Naiqama, who would be likely signed as a backup depth option at either of the two clubs.

In saying that, his experience would be a major addition to any club. The Roosters have talented youngsters like Billy Smith and Joseph Sualii in the system who could learn off Naiqama, while only Joseph Manu, Matt Ikuvalu and Daniel Tupou are guaranteed starting spots at wing or centre for the Roosters in 2022.

The Tigers could use Naiqama even more than the tri-colours given their dismal season, and with misfiring outside backs at both ends of the park, Naiqama could eventually play more than a backup role in Michael Maguire's side at Concord.

1 COMMENT

  1. Wouldn’t say Ikuvalu is guaranteed a starting spot next season. I reckon it’ll be 1. Tedesco 2. Tupou 3. Momirovski 4. Manu 5. Suaalii.

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