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Nathan 'Tingha' Blacklock is set to return to St George as early as next week following further indications that the NSWRU are ready to grant a release.
Negotiations are underway to have Blacklock back in time for the club's return match to Kogarah Jubilee Oval on May 4th against the Sharks.
The rumours were further bolstered yesterday when the Dragons released Fijian flanker, Wise Kativerata to South Sydney.
But player manager, Shaun Martyn was keen to play down Blacklock's impending return despite news that he is due to meet NSWRU chief executive John McKay next week.
Blacklock has made no secret of his desire to return to the Dragons but said his immediate focus was on playing for Penrith in club rugby this weekend.
Earlier this month, Blacklock announced that wanted to return to the Dragons - since then, he has not been selected for the NSW Waratahs.
Following a series of personal and professional issues, Blacklock left the Dragons in June 2002.
Since then, St George Illawarra CEO Peter Doust said the club was keen to have Blacklock back.
St George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown has also been working behind the scenes to secure Blacklock's release.
"He has got a meeting with rugby union next week and they will let him know where he stands. Hopefully he can get a release," Brown said.
Blacklock was the NRL's leading tryscorer for three successive seasons in 1999, 2000 and 2001.