Friday 15 December 2017 / 12:12 AM

RECRUITMENT WATCH: KNIGHTS

In the next instalment of his NRL Recruitment Watch series, NICK TEDESCHI looks at who the Newcastle Knights are chasing, who they should be going after, and the areas on the roster that need shoring up for 2018.

Needs: The Knights are in need of class players across the paddock, with some experience an added bonus. The current Knights squad that is staring down the barrel of three straight wooden spoons lacks genuine class.

The team is in desperately need of a half that is better than mediocre. They need a good centre or two. Hard-headed middle forwards are a must.

2018 Recruits: Kalyn Ponga, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Aidan Guerra

2018 Losses: Dane Gagai, Jarrod Mullen

Off-Contract: Peter Mata’utia, Luke Yates, Jaelen Feeney, Josh Starling, Dylan Phythian, Tyler Randell, Jack Stockwell, Sam Mataora, Jacob Gagan, Brendan Elliot, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Pauli Pauli, Mickey Paea, Anthony Tupou, David Bhana

Rumours: The Knights have been linked to nearly anyone and everyone. James Graham has been a major target. Connor Watson is the latest player du jour. Tautau Moga is on the hit list. The club is believed to have approached Cooper Cronk about a player-coaching role. Blake Austin is another player who may end up in the Hunter in 2018. Tim Grant is a good chance to land at the joint. Herman Ese’ese is also likely to make the move to the Knights.

Players to Target: No disrespect intended to the Knights but they need to take any player of talent that will go. The club is in dire straits, an absolute mess. They are in need of a cleanout but unfortunately few players are prepared to take the overs on offer.

James Graham is one player you can build a culture around so they should throw heaven and earth to get him. Luke Lewis hasn’t got long left but is another culture player. Same with Cooper Cronk.

Building on culture is really the most important thing for the Knights over the next 18 months.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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