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.
— Triple M NRL (@TripleM_NRL) June 10, 2017
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.
The great man Graeme Hughes rarely dabbles in rumour- he’s just suggested that knights are still in play for James Graham @apaulrove
— Sparty (@spartytalkback) June 26, 2017
— Info Handphone (@info__handphone) June 26, 2017
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.
If I’m running the @NRL I’m throwing Cooper Cronk however many paper bags he wants to go to the Knights for two years. Gutted for their fans
— Daniel Briggs (@DanielBriggs21) June 25, 2017
Building on culture is really the most important thing for the Knights over the next 18 months.