Knights legend Danny Buderus says the club hopes to find a suitable player to replace Mitchell Pearce but it may not be a halfback they search for, endorsing new recruit Adam Clune.
Buderus, who is Newcastle's general manager of football, said on Tuesday the club's recruitment team plan to fill Pearce's void after he accepted a three-year deal with Super League side Catalans Dragons.
However, while a specialist halfback appears the logical option, Buderus suggested the balance of the squad could see them look towards strengthening their depth elsewhere.
The Knights have Clune, Jake Clifford and Phoenix Crossland on their books for 2022 while Kurt Mann, Tex Hoy and Simi Sasagi provide further halves options.
Superstar Kalyn Ponga spent some time in a playmaking role alongside Pearce early in the 2019 season and may also come into the calculations for another switch from fullback.
"We've got to weigh it up," Buderus said.
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"There's a lot going on. We'll start looking for a replacement. That's something we'll have to express and get to work.
"I feel like we're in a position now that whoever comes to fill the jersey is in a really good position because we've got a good list and the club is moving in the right direction.
"There are options, there is, but whether or not we go and buy a halfback or do we go the other way and buy a fullback.
"We need an established and experienced half. Adam [Clune] brings that, and I'm excited about Phoenix Crossland and the way he's come back in [to pre-season].
"We've got a responsibility to coach the players who are under our roof and develop these players."
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Buderus, who played Origin alongside a 19-year-old Pearce back in 2008, says the 2013 premiership winner was leaving the NRL on his own terms after 309 games.
"It is sad any time you see someone who has had a significant contribution to the club move on," Buderus said.
"I think for Mitchell and where he's at it's a great opportunity to go over to the Super League.
"Mitchell came to the club at an extremely tough time [in 2018] and showed some faith.
"It's the right option for Mitchell and the club. We're all moving forward now. A lot of players have loved playing with Mitchell and the competitiveness of Mitchell.
"Training is a huge part in setting standards and Mitchell has done that. The legacy is there for whoever gets the chance to go through and do that now.
"Adam Clune has arrived and is winning all the fitness tests and all the standards we're setting. He'll get an opportunity."