THE race is on for the signature of former NRL fullback and Griffith product David Milne, who looks set to play in Group 20 next year.
The Black and Whites, Waratahs and Yenda have all signalled their interest in signing the ex-Raiders fullback for next season after he confirmed he is moving back to Griffith next month.
Milne, 27, currently plays for the Mackay Cutters in Queensland’s premier competition, the Intrust Super Cup but told The Area News he hasn’t decided if he will play rugby league in 2014 or not.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure – at the moment I’m just moving back,” he said.
“It’s been too long away from family and my boys need to meet their family.
“I just haven’t made that final decision if I will play or not.”
However, The Area News can reveal Milne is already in advanced discussions with the three local clubs and is currently mulling over several offers on the table.
Milne’s junior club, the Griffith Black and Whites, is in the box seat to secure him as the marquee player that would instantly bring a much-needed sense of enthusiasm back to a side that has just suffered its worst ever season.
President Steve Parr said he would leave no stone unturned as the Group 20 wooden spooners rebuild after a campaign that yielded just one win. “We’ve made him the offer. That’s something we’re concentrating on, getting our juniors back,” he said.
“Hopefully it comes through, but we’re working on a plan B.
“We’re talking to a few locals.
A few teams won’t be happy.
“But we’ve got to work on the top guy first and our club as a whole so we come out on the right side of the ledger.”
Assuming he plays, Milne will not be a captain-coach option after informing clubs he will not have the time for the added responsibility.
The Black and Whites will have to bat away challenges from the Waratahs and Blueheelers to get their man.
‘Tahs president Ken Wells said Milne sounded “excited” about the prospect of returning home and helping Griffith rugby league.
“I spoke to him last week and he said everyone’s called him,” he said.
“It depends who can come up with the dollars or be competitive.
“He goes really well, scored a lot of tries for the Raiders and is leading tryscorer for Mackay in the Queensland Cup, which is a very strong competition, obviously.
“I know his mum and dad real well, they’re lovely people so he comes from good stock.”
Yenda secretary Sam Panarello also said he has been in touch with Milne –and that the fullback needs to be careful he joins the right club.
“We know he’s a Black and Whites junior and is very loyal to that club,” he said.
“But it’s important that he plays for a competitive side, because you don’t want to be out there every week getting bashed.
“He can’t be Robinson Crusoe.
“One player can’t do it on his own.
“You need 17 to 20 that are pretty good footballers to be competitive in this comp.
“He’s well-spoken, well-presented – why wouldn’t we want him?”