The Newcastle Knights have settled on their coach, with Adam O’Brien to be unveiled as Nathan Brown’s successor as early as the end of this week.
NRL.com understands the Knights and O’Brien’s management have reached an agreement and are now sorting out the details of the deal.
O’Brien has told Roosters officials of his intention to depart the Tricolours at the end of the year to link with the Knights.
It is understood he will remain as Trent Robinson’s assistant for the remainder of the year, despite some at the club disappointed with O’Brien’s decision to leave the Roosters.
O’Brien has a very close relationship with halfback Cooper Cronk and has been instrumental in helping the Roosters add another dimension to their attack in 2019.
The Knights are yet to make an official announcement.
Newcastle chief executive Philip Gardner has come under fire in recent days over a lack of transparency in regards to Brown’s sudden exit from the club at the end of the season, with several key figures at the Knights copping criticism for the way it has been handled.
Adding fuel to the fire was the team's unacceptable performance against the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown on Saturday night, all but ending the club’s hopes of breaking its finals drought.
Knights set to announce O'Brien as new head coach
Brown was filthy with his team after the game, offering to stand down from the role over the final two weeks if he didn't have the support of the players.
NRL.com has been told the Knights, prior to Brown fronting Gardner last Monday, had decided that it would conduct a review of the football department at the end of the season.
Gardner had planned to inform Brown in last Monday’s meeting, however he decided to walk away after learning a club representative had been asked to do some homework on potential coaching alternatives.
Knights recruitment manager Troy Pezet was acting under instruction from the club to gauge who the best option would be, if indeed the club was to decide to move on from Brown at the end of 2019.
However, word got back to Brown that enquiries were being made about O’Brien and he confronted the club last week, culminating in the decision to fall in his sword.
O'Brien is regarded as the best young coach in the game, serving an 11-year apprenticeship under Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm before joining the Roosters this season.
He began his coaching career as an assistant to Brad Arthur to the Storm's under-20 team, working his way up the ranks to take his place as Bellamy's right-hand man in his final few years at the club.
He was so highly regarded by the Storm, he had been earmarked as Bellamy's potential replacement when the Melbourne coach was weighing up an offer from the Broncos last year.