Anthony Mundine playing for the Dragons in 1996.
Anthony Mundine playing for the Dragons in 1996. Getty Images

Mundine eyes comeback to rugby league

BOXERS talk a lot of trash, but is Anthony Mundine making sense this time around?

According to the Daily Telegraph the former rugby league star wants back in the NRL, meeting St George CEO Peter Doust to arrange a return to the Dragons in October's Aboriginal knockout tournament.

The 42-year-old fighter played more than 100 games for the Dragons in an eight-year footy career and wore the NSW jersey three times during the 1999 Origin series. Never shy about talking himself up, the former five-eighth reckons he still has what it takes to succeed at the top level.

That might be a tough sell, but Newcastle legend Matthew Johns doesn't doubt Mundine's ambition.

"I love it," Johns said on the Triple M Grill Team. "He'll give it a crack.

"It's a tall order. It's tough - there's no doubt about that. You lose that explosiveness as you get older, even a great athlete like Choc (does), but I love it, it's just a great story."

Mundine is full of bluster in the lead-up to fights but Johns doesn't believe that arrogance will be a problem if he returns and says the Dragons must welcome him back with open arms. He says away from the cameras Mundine is a "champion" who would do wonders for St George.

"It'll create a lot of interest," Johns said.

"If I was (Dragons coach) Paul McGregor I'd say, 'Come on Choc, come back, come and join us in the off-season.'

"He isn't a disruptive influence. He's an absolute champion, he's a really good fella. He takes a lot of his cues - the way he sells his fights - off his hero Muhammad Ali but he's a terrific bloke.

"He'd be good for the young blokes there. Imagine if he played in the first trial game just to see how he goes, he'd fill the stadium."

Penrith great Mark Geyer says Mundine will never make it back to an NRL field but is keen to see how the comeback pans out.

"It's never going to happen. I don't think he'll ever play footy again but the fact he wants to have a dig is going to be fascinating to watch," he said.

Mundine left the NRL nearly 17 years ago to pursue his boxing dream. A three-time world champion, his future in the sport has been uncertain ever since losing his rematch to Danny Green in February.

Mundine's initial plan was to play in the Auckland Nines but even though that tournament has been scrapped for 2018, his comeback plan is still alive.

"I'm training to increase my speed now to prepare. I'll see how I go and then talk to the Dragons again about the off-season," Mundine told the Daily Telegraph.

In May this year Mundine said he believed he was "capable" of making it back to the NRL and wanted "to do things that have never been done, I want to make it possible".

The former pivot would become the oldest player to ever appear in the NRL if his comeback miracle eventuates, overtaking North Sydney's Billy Wilson who was 40 and five days when he played his final match.

News Corp Australia

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