Axed Penrith Panthers forward Daine Laurie could be set for a shock NRL return with Newcastle next year.
The Daily Telegraph has been told Laurie and his manager Chris Haddad will meet with Knights recruitment manager Keith Onslow in the next few weeks with the consent of incoming coach Wayne Bennett.
With Dragons coach Bennett heading to Newcastle next year, Laurie could be another success story for the master coach.
Laurie, who was sacked by Panthers supremo Phil Gould for drinking on a flight to Auckland with his Windsor NSW Cup teammates in June, has been rebuilding his career with the Macquarie Scorpions in the Newcastle Rugby League.
Haddad said he has been in regular contact with Onslow and is hopeful of striking a deal for the 2012 season. He said Laurie has also attracted interest from the Gold Coast Titans and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
The 27-year-old 115kg forward has been recovering from a knee injury, but his performances in the Newcastle competition have been impressive enough to catch the eye of Onslow, who confirmed the Knights will look at the local Yamba product at the end of the season. However, Onslow said no meeting with Laurie has been scheduled.
“The Knights haven’t done anything yet,” Onslow said. “(But) behaviour-wise and footy-wise, he’s done all the right things,” he said.