Knights set for roster overhaul
They've missed some of the biggest names off-contract in the Telstra Premiership but Knights coach Nathan Brown remains confident the club will add the right players to their roster for next season.
With at least 16 players still yet to decide their futures beyond the 2017 season at Newcastle, Brown indicated there would be changes to the current squad after managing only two wins to start the year.
Their only signing to date for 2018 is Cowboys prodigy Kalyn Ponga.
"Our roster will change dramatically next year and while we haven’t signed anyone yet, we're certainly talking to a lot of players who we think can help our squad," Brown said on Wednesday.
Brown confirmed last month the club was close to offering former Kiwi centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall a three-year deal before the Roosters stood down the 29-year-old pending a court case for illicit drug charges.
Roosters teammate Aidan Guerra is now on Newcastle's radar after the Maroons representative approached the club about a move to the Hunter.
Brown indicated Guerra wasn't the only player to contact the Knights and offer their services.
"We have had a number of players that have approached the club - one or two that were keen to come here," Brown said.
"If the right player came up we’d certainly sign them.
"We have had a chat with Aidan and it would be good to have a player with his experience. He’s been in Origin and won grand finals and is a bloke that could certainly help our squad.
"If the right one doesn’t come up, we’ll certainly have to wait until next year."
With the departure of Dane Gagai at the end of the season and Jarrod Mullen's four-year ASADA ban, the Knights are the most cashed-up club in the Telstra Premiership, however with only three wins in 18 months, the ability to attract quality players to the club is proving difficult with results not going their way.
"I know we keep saying that but it’s no good paying big money for the wrong players," he said.
"We certainly have the finance to do it but it's just whether the players are right and we certainly think that for our squad going forward we do need a few middles.
"As we've seen with the ongoing saga with where the salary cap is going to be, there’s going to be a lot more good players available.
"And there is going to be a lot more player movement yet."
With most sides still in finals contention after 13 rounds, Brown said it was unlikely the club would be able to sign any mid-season recruits in 2017, after luring former Raiders lock Mitchell Barnett and Roosters utility Brendan Elliot before the June 30 deadline last season.
"Anyone we're talking to is more for next year, but as we've seen in this game, strange things happen with people moving at different stages," Brown said.
"We are looking at some players in clubs that are doing very well and I don't think those clubs will let them go now because they'll all be looking to play finals football."