UK Super League giants St Helens have hosed down talk of Golden Boot winner Tommy Makinson moving to the NRL after the England winger was spotted at Newcastle.
Makinson made it clear he wanted to break into the NRL after he was a shock winner of the Golden Boot award ahead of James Tedesco, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Elliott Whitehead last month.
The rumour mill went into overdrive after Makinson - on an off-season break with St Helens - was sighted at the Knights on Monday, reportedly chatting with coach Nathan Brown.
But Saints coach Justin Holbrook tried to shut down speculation surrounding Makinson, who is contracted to the Super League club until 2021.
"I haven't seen the stories but no one has come knocking on my door from the NRL concerning Tommy," Holbrook told The St Helens Reporter.
"I know he has been on holiday Down Under but I am expecting him to return to training next week like the rest of our England players."
Makinson raised eyebrows when he became just the fifth English winner of the Golden Boot as best player on the international stage.
NSW great Brad Fittler claimed it was "totally ridiculous" to give the award to Makinson, saying he had never seen him play and that it "belittled" the prestigious Golden Boot honour.
But Holbrook wasn't surprised Makinson was now turning heads in Australia.
"Tommy's profile has skyrocketed in recent weeks and well deserved," he said of Makinson, a standout in England's recent series win over New Zealand.
"People didn't know a lot about him but we did and understood what a fantastic player he is."
UK reports claimed Makinson may be in the Knights' sights after flyer Ken Sio moved to Super League club Salford following a two-year Newcastle stint.
Makinson said at the Golden Boot awards that he had kept in close contact with Brown since the coach left for the NRL following a stint as St Helens mentor from 2013-14.
Newcastle have already bolstered their backline ahead of the new NRL season, signing ex-Cronulla speedsters Jesse Ramien and Edrick Lee for 2019.
Australian Associated Press