Anthony Mundine has reportedly taken a step forward towards his rugby league return after meeting with St George Illawarra officials last week.

It's been 16 years since the boxing star walked out on the Dragons, but the club reportedly rolled out the red carpet to welcome him back when the 41-year-old attended the local derby against Cronulla at UOW Jubilee Oval last Friday night.

Wide World of Sports reports Mundine is aiming to make his NRL comeback by playing for the Dragons in the 2018 NRL Nines event in February, which is yet to be finalised.

According to the report, Mundine met with Dragons chief executive Peter Doust and new chairman Brian Johnston and was "wined and dined" inside the club's corporate facilities at the Kogarah ground.

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Mundine's only chance of playing in the NRL is for the former five-eighth to star in the Nines and force his former club to offer him an NRL contract.

LAURIE OVERLOOKS GALLEN FOR ORIGIN

FORMER NSW captain Paul Gallen's State of Origin career is officially over.

The Sharks' veteran said on Tuesday said his potential selection for NSW this series "won't be happening" after previously declaring he was available for selection if NSW coach Laurie Daley called on him one final time.

Gallen said he is more than happy to move on with his career and focus on playing for Cronulla, despite his impressive form this season prompting calls for the 35-year-old to take part in the 2017 series.

Gallen said on Tuesday he has not heard from Daley since his representative football comeback for Country in the final City-Country fixture in Mudgee.

"I remember last year there were a fair few people that didn't want me and this year there's a fair few people who are talking about me coming back," Gallen told Sky Sports Radio.

"That won't be happening. I certainly haven't spoken to Laurie. I haven't put my hand up. I said all along if Laurie needs me, if Laurie needs me to play, I'll be there without a doubt, but I haven't spoken to anyone at all and I'd be quite confident I won't be picked next week and I'm quite happy with that.

"Last year there were people that didn't want me, this year there's people that want me again and I just think that I've had my time there. I've won a series, I've done everything I can for NSW and I've held the fort while these young guys came along. I think I've done that really well.

"A lot of the guys who are going to get picked this year have been in the system for at least 12 months if not two years. I was part of bringing them through and fingers crossed they can get the job done."

CLEARY GETS ANOTHER STAR ON THE BUS

NEW Zealand Test prop Russell Packer has signed to join Wests Tigers on a four-year deal as new coach Ivan Cleary's team rebuild rolls on.

The 27-year-old Packer will arrive from St George Illawarra for next season, joining recent Cleary signings in fellow Kiwi Test prop Ben Matulino and Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds.

The next big piece in the puzzle is expected to be out-of-favour Warriors utility back Tuimoala Lolohea as Cleary moves to replace his departing stars Aaron Woods, Mitchell Moses and James Tedesco.

While he is losing NSW prop Woods, Cleary has ensured the Tigers get some much- needed grunt and go-forward with the addition of Packer and Matulino, both of whom he coached when at the helm of the Warriors.

Packer has resurrected his NRL career since joining the Dragons in the past two seasons after he served 12 months in jail for assault.

He has played a total of 142 NRL games with the Warriors and St George Illawarra since making his debut in 2008 and played his third Test for New Zealand in the recent clash with Australia.

"Russell has been one of the standout front-rowers in the NRL this season," said Cleary.
"He's a no-nonsense front-rower, he really knows what his job is and he delivers and I think he's only going to get better.

"I think he's going to have a very strong leadership role here. He's got a great story, a story of hard knocks and coming out the other side, and that will resonate with lots of the boys here.

"He's very keen to help us regrow what we have here at Wests Tigers, and they're the sort of guys we want on board."

Meanwhile, the Dragons on Tuesday responded to Packer's decision to leave the club by announcing the re-signing of star prop Paul Vaughan.

Vaughan has signed a long-term deal which will see him remain with the Dragons until the end of the 2021 season.