TWO-TIME premiership-winning Manly prop Josh Perry would consider returning home and rejoining the Newcastle Knights if he cannot agree to terms to stay with the Sea Eagles.
Negotiations . . . Josh Perry could return to the Knights. Photo: Getty Images
The 29-year-old NSW front-rower, who won grand finals with Newcastle in 2001 and Manly in 2008, comes off contract at the end of this season and wants to sign for three more years but the Sea Eagles are only offering him a two-year deal.
In the current issue of Rugby League Week magazine, which is on sale today, Perry said he had instructed his manager, Mike Newton, to investigate all options for next year.
One of a host of home-grown players to leave the Knights at the end of 2007 as part of former coach Brian Smith's highly publicised roster restructure, Perry will lead the Manly pack against Newcastle at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.
"I'm not going to take anything less than three years and at this stage they are not willing to offer me any more than two," Perry tells RLW.
"It's pretty early at the moment and we'll see what happens, but my eyes and ears are wide open for other opportunities too.
"I'd have to look at the Knights; you'd never say never.
"Things have happened there that I can't forget in the way that I left the club.
"But it's my home town, I love the place, and it holds a special place in my heart, so you never know."
Perry, who said his priority was to re-sign with the Sea Eagles, felt for the "innocent" Newcastle players and Knights supporters who had been rocked by the club's latest drug scandal.
"It's really disappointing, because the Knights used to be such a strong, united and great club that everyone used to look at as the benchmark with their culture," he said.
"But to have that culture come into question is really disappointing."
Perry's comments are sure to add further friction to the already fierce rivalry between the two clubs, who have both blown big leads in their opening two games this season.
Manly led the Tigers 20-4 and Parramatta 20-0 at half-time of their first two matches, only to be run down and beaten 26-22 and 24-20 to be one of four teams yet to open their account.
The Knights led the Bulldogs 16-0 at half-time of their first game, hanging on to win 20-16, then raced to a 14-0 lead after 21 minutes against Melbourne last Saturday but conceded 20 unanswered points in the final hour to suffer their first loss for the season.