After two seasons of high achievement and injury disappointment, Hayden Loughrey will soon know if the Knights will offer him a new contract to keep alive his NRL dream.
The 19-year-old halfback, Newcastle’s under-20 captain this year, missed the back end of the season when an ongoing left shoulder injury worsened and he required a full reconstruction. He said the shoulder had continually “popped out” during games.
With his arm in a sling and several months of rehab ahead of him, the Gunnedah product is hopeful he has shown the Knights enough to warrant a new deal after two seasons at the club.
“In talking [with the club] they haven’t offered anything,” he said. “But we’re just talking about it now, seeing what they can offer.”
He added: “I’m hoping I do [get another contract] … they say they will.”
Loughrey had “ligament repair” surgery on the same shoulder ahead of last season.
The former Farrer student said the surgeon who performed the full reconstruction was confident he would make a complete recovery: “He thinks it will be right.”
Loughrey believes he will be ready for the start of next season.
He does not believe the injury will be an impediment to him getting offered another contract, because “I played pretty well with it injured, so they might be thinking that if I’m not injured I might play better”.
In 2018, he mixed under-20 Jersey Flegg appearances with Intrust Super Premiership games for the Knights.
I’m hoping I do [get another contract] … they say they will.Hayden Loughrey
Newcastle’s under-20 side was beaten 30-26 by Penrith in the preliminary final.
Loughrey described his time at the club as “pretty fun”.
“I came down here not knowing what it’d be [like],” he said. “It turned out to be pretty full on, and I enjoyed it.”
“Hopefully, one day,” he added, in reference to playing NRL.
Loughrey lives with another former Farrer alumni, Loomberah’s Jack Cameron, who played his first season of Jersey Flegg with the Knights last season.
When Loughrey returned to the under-20 side in July from the Intrust Super Premiership, he was reinstalled as captain – with Knights under-20 coach Todd Lowrie saying: “He's been playing Cup the last few weeks and playing really well.”