THE Kiama Knights first grade rugby league team has received a massive boost with the return of one of their favourite sons, Luke Muttdon - albeit only in the short-term.
The 24-year-old back-rower has agreed to a return to the South Coast Group 7 competition. He will be part of the Knights' pack for the first half of their 2013 campaign, before heading off to play for the Australian University team in the Uni World Cup in Leeds. He will then to take up a contract with La Réole in France.
Despite his relative youth, he hopes that his experience will pay off during a return to his junior club.
"I went to the Steelers straight from under 16s and unfortunately didn't have a lot of luck with injuries, with a knee injury keeping me out for about 18 months and I later missed another extended period after breaking my wrist - ironically while on loan to Kiama," Muttdon said.
"But after playing in the under 20s, I moved to Western Suburbs, playing under coach Paul McGregor, and won three successive Illawarra first grade premierships and was runner-up last year with Reece Simmons in charge, so I have tasted plenty of success.
"We were a pretty tight bunch as most of us had played for the Steelers, which made it really enjoyable."
He also represented Illawarra's senior representative teams during that period.
He views his return as a way of repaying the Knights for the years they put into his development, as well as a chance to turn out with some close friends from his junior days.
"The Knights are a very young club player-wise and I really hope to be able pass on some of my knowledge, help them develop into a genuine premiership threat and build on what they achieved last year," he said.
The Knights' first grade coach Simon Foster acknowledged the benefits of his addition, even in the short-term, as a huge bonus. He echoed Muttdon's sentiments about his role.
"Luke is a great bloke and someone that the young blokes can look up to," Foster said.
"He knows how to put in at training and in games and even has some of the young guys doing extra sessions during the week to help prepare for the season."
Muttdon hopes his time with La Réole in the French second division will help secure a top division contract in 2014.