Rossdog's determined journey to the NRL dream

Rossy. Rossdog, White Lightning. Hollywood.

The many names of Nathan Ross. (there's also the many hairstyles)

Whatever he goes by, the blonde haired larrikin has been a player who has captured the hearts of Newcastle Knights’ fans.

Now at the age of 30, Ross has called his it quits from the game.

He has been forced to medically retire after four seasons in the top grade.

No doubt, he’ll be missed!

His vibrant personality, his flamboyant style of play and his undeniable love for Newcastle and the club.

Not to forget some of his sensational four pointers.

Who said white men can’t jump!

2017, Round six against the Bulldogs, Ross defied gravity with a freakish leaping try.

It was a special effort. Just one of many.

Humble beginnings

Born on the Gold Coast, Ross played his junior rugby league days for the Burleigh Bears and Coogee Randwick Wombats.

He played in the Queensland Cup in 2009 for the Tweed Head Seagulls before moving to the Burleigh Bears in 2010 where he was top try scorer, with 21 tries.

He then made the big move to Newcastle in 2011.

It was a busy time for Ross.

He worked as an underground miner and dedicated his time to local rugby league in the Hunter.

It was a juggling act but ultimately it would pay off.

Long road to NRL

Ross played for numerous Hunter teams before he finally cracked the big time.

He started at Lakes United, where he got noticed.

That saw Ross move to France in the latter part of 2011 to play professionally for Toulouse Olympique in the Challenge Cup for a season.

A memorable 20 tries and finals footy.

Back down under he had a stellar year for Lakes United, and in 2012 caught the eye of the Newcastle Knights.

His reward, playing some games in the NSW Cup side.

In 2013 he signed with the Western Suburbs Rosellas but didn’t play a match after leaving to train for a pre-season with the Knights first-grade squad.

Unfortunately, the contract he wanted didn’t come so he signed with the Kurri Bulldogs for 2013, considered one of the most lethal players in the comp that year.

In 2014, Ross got a one-year deal to come back to the Knights NSW Cup side and after scoring 19 tries, he was signed for another two years at the club.

His opportunity with the Knights though came at a price. He had to quit his high paying job at the mines to take up a minimum wage contract. It was a gamble, but a good one!

2015 was the year it all happened. He played NRL Auckland Nines, was named 19th man for the NSW Residents and finally in Round 21 of the NRL season made his highly anticipated NRL debut.

It was against the St George Illawarra Dragons… and in true form scored his first NRL try.

Red and blue forever

In 2016 Ross signed with the Knights for another two years. He played 19 first-grade games.

The following year his contract was again extended until the end of 2020 and these were the years’ he truly etched himself as a red and blue fan favourite.

2017 was a blockbuster year for the Knights back. He had the wing position locked down, switched for a few in fullback, played 20 NRL matches and scored an impressive 10 tries.

Plus, he scored that unforgettable hat trick against the Dragons in Round 16.

It was also a frightening year. In August he fractured his back playing against the New Zealand Warriors. He was out for the rest of the season.

Injury wasn’t his best friend. A pelvis injury also troubled him for most of 2018.

In his last NRL season, Ross made 15 appearances and scored two tries, switching from the wing to the centres.

All comes to an end

2019 was not a good start.

Ross underwent groin surgery in the off-season and was in recovery mode. He also injured his finger which put recovery back even further.

He was looking at a stint on the sidelines for the beginning of the season.

But then in April, Ross made a huge decision... hang up the boots!

He made the announcement on his medical retirement from the game on April 2nd.

60 NRL games and 23 tries. Short and sweet but what a ride!

It was heartbreaking for the Rossdog. He realised he’d be leaving the very game which has been part of his life for so long.

But together with his fiancé and his two kids Ziah and Willow, the loveable Knights talent will stay in Newcastle to chase his next opportunity.

As for his next move, whether it be in the media, football related or even back in the mines, watch this space.

Look out Nathan Ross is on the loose!