Powerhouse forward Richie Fa’aoso has backed up his match-turning performance for Newcastle last night by signing a new three-year-deal with the club.<br><br>The Knights had tried to finalise a deal with Fa’aoso weeks ago, but negotiations were stalled because of a dispute between the player and his management company.<br><br>Things have now been sorted however, and the Tongan International will remain a crucial member of the red-and-blue crusade.<br><br>“He’s agreed to a new three-year deal,” football manager Warren Smiles told NRL.com today. <br><br>“He has been playing some great footy and I think with the steps he’s taken, the club recognised he was a valuable player to sign going forward.<br><br>“With his power, strength and speed and everything else he’s very dangerous. <br><br>“He’s a lot more settled and I think that showed in his game on Monday night.”<br><br>Fa’aoso turned the match against Souths when he came onto the field, ran the ball strongly and injected some much-needed life into the Knights’ second-half comeback.<br><br>Smiles believes the contract resolution played a big part in Fa’aoso’s performance.<br><br>‘He had a couple of patchy weeks when it was all going on, I don’t think he could concentrate… Monday night was a sign that he’ll probably do well now,” Smiles says.<br><br>“We thought he turned the game against Souths, just his impact really did make a difference to the flow of the game. Just when we needed those good carries he came on and made a couple of really good runs and scored a try, so he was pretty important to the game.”<br><br>In more positive news for Newcastle, who have powered into fifth position on the ladder, back-rower Cory Paterson has nearly completed his comeback.<br><br>Paterson, who has been battling injuries and depression, was 18th man for the Knights against the Rabbitohs and is hoping to play a part in his team’s push for the finals.<br><br>“With nine games left he’s another one that really will be significant,” Smiles says. <br><br>“His health is back on track and if he can just get over his injuries and get himself right, he only needs a couple of local games to get a bit of timing back… so he’ll be in the mix.<br><br>“The main thing when he was out was just about his health and about his well-being. We weren’t trying to put any stresses on him coming back to play, he probably did a bit of that himself just through his disposition, his nervousness about where he was at. <br><br>“But I think taking that time to make sure his health was right was the main thing – and he’s realised that now. <br><br>“He’s pretty settled and he’s back now thinking more clearly about how to get back and come back into the first grade side, rather than rushing it.”<br><br>Unfortunately for the Knights representative prop Ben Cross – who it was hoped would be back in time for the finals – is gone for the year, however in coming weeks they are looking forward to welcoming back Dan Tolar, Cameron Ciraldo, Scott Dureau and James McManus to their first grade ranks.
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