2022 Knights Recruitment & Retention Thread

HarVeeGee13

Shane Vincent
OFF CONTRACT - LIKELY/RUMOURED TO BE LEAVING CLUB

Edrick Lee

OFF CONTRACT - RUMOURED EXTENSION

Hymel Hunt
Connor Watson
Kurt Mann
Lachlan Fitzgibbon

OFF CONTRACT - 2022 PROSPECTS UNCLEAR

Phoenix Crossland
Josh King
Enari Tuala
Tex Hoy

OFF CONTRACT - PLAYER OPTION

Gehamat Shibasaki

NEW SIGNINGS

Jake Clifford (2023)

RE-SIGNED

Bradman Best (2024)
Mitchell Pearce (2022)
Brodie Jones (2023)


CONFIRMED DEPARTURES

Blake Green (retirement)

...

9 roster spots to fill, probably not a huge amount of cap space with which to do it. I would guess that Lachlan, Edrick, Connor & Kurt combined probably cost the club something in the order of $1.3 million, with the rest not on particularly big money. Clifford I’d imagine is not particularly expensive as we’ve bought him at (hopefully) the lowest point of his first grade career; I’m guessing his deal would be worth about $300K but could be wrong.

Which re-signings would you prioritise, and which players would you be happy to allow to test the market? Personally I’m not in love with the rumoured Kurt Mann extension, good player who gives his all, but I think having Connor, Tex AND Kurt is one too many utilities.
 
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Matty23

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
I’d let go of Mann and keep Watson and Hoy. Personally think he was one of our better players in 2020, however when it comes to utility value and spark I believe that Connor is the far better of the two. He just brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the side which is so understated by a lot of fans.

I’d definitely look at extending Jones as he looks to be developing nicely, just needs a bit more game time under his belt. King would also come cheap for us and has started to become a solid first grade bench prop, despite a few howlers here and there.

Personally, I like Fitzy. I know a lot of fans don’t rate him because he isn’t getting any short passes from Kalyn anymore but I still think he’s a rock on that left edge defensively for us and is one of our better hole runners when we’re playing to our best.

Green is on his last legs, like literally, and I think he probably isn’t needed with Clifford coming next year and getting on in age. Would make a good halves coach which was rumoured at some stage.

Crossland and Tuala would be cheap, but we really haven’t seen them play to their full potential. Both are young and both have been hot and cold. Tuala had a pretty consistent 2020 but his form declined at the back end of the season particularly defensively. Crossland needs a little bit more time to develop against men and actually play in his preferred position of halfback. Both I’d happily keep for depth.
 

knightime

Todd Bates
I’d let go of Mann and keep Watson and Hoy. Personally think he was one of our better players in 2020, however when it comes to utility value and spark I believe that Connor is the far better of the two. He just brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the side which is so understated by a lot of fans.

I’d definitely look at extending Jones as he looks to be developing nicely, just needs a bit more game time under his belt. King would also come cheap for us and has started to become a solid first grade bench prop, despite a few howlers here and there.

Personally, I like Fitzy. I know a lot of fans don’t rate him because he isn’t getting any short passes from Kalyn anymore but I still think he’s a rock on that left edge defensively for us and is one of our better hole runners when we’re playing to our best.

Green is on his last legs, like literally, and I think he probably isn’t needed with Clifford coming next year and getting on in age. Would make a good halves coach which was rumoured at some stage.

Crossland and Tuala would be cheap, but we really haven’t seen them play to their full potential. Both are young and both have been hot and cold. Tuala had a pretty consistent 2020 but his form declined at the back end of the season particularly defensively. Crossland needs a little bit more time to develop against men and actually play in his preferred position of halfback. Both I’d happily keep for depth.
100% agree with all of this. Would be happy to keep Mann but we’ve got some other positions to bolster which his salary could be used for instead.
 

HarVeeGee13

Shane Vincent
It’ll be very interesting to see where Fitz is playing when he gets back. If he’s straight back onto that left edge, Barnett starting lock, and he performs well, he’s be an absolute moral to re-sign (and I’d like to see this, I like Barnett more as a middle, pushing the line speed; I think his defence on the edges can leave something to be desired). If he’s just used as a bench forward this year, I reckon his days at the club might be numbered.

His attacking contribution was actually better in 2020 than 2019 even though he only scored once, 5 line breaks in 17 games I think. If he can stay around 1 every 3 games that’s pretty solid, the contribution you’d expect of a good line runner on an edge. Really considering who’s also playing on that side the most important thing to the team is that he nails his unders lines and engages the defenders inside The Beast, and his size and strength means defenders can’t just ignore him.
 

HarVeeGee13

Shane Vincent
100% agree with all of this. Would be happy to keep Mann but we’ve got some other positions to bolster which his salary could be used for instead.
If we do re-sign Mann, I think that’s pretty bad news for Phoenix & Randall. It doesn’t speak highly of Adzy’s confidence in them to be ready for the top grade. I can see the logic if the thinking is, if there’s an injury to Brailey, Pearce or Clifford, Kurt is the one who slots in for them, so that Watson can keep playing the defined bench middle role Adzy has carved out for him. But yeah if it’s me I’m looking at Mann & Lee’s salaries as something you can pool to get after a really good experienced/first grade ready outside back, and bumping Randall up to the top 30...
 

knightime

Todd Bates
If we do re-sign Mann, I think that’s pretty bad news for Phoenix & Randall. It doesn’t speak highly of Adzy’s confidence in them to be ready for the top grade. I can see the logic if the thinking is, if there’s an injury to Brailey, Pearce or Clifford, Kurt is the one who slots in for them, so that Watson can keep playing the defined bench middle role Adzy has carved out for him. But yeah if it’s me I’m looking at Mann & Lee’s salaries as something you can pool to get after a really good experienced/first grade ready outside back, and bumping Randall up to the top 30...
I think Sasagi will be that sort of player in future if Mann departs.
 

mullenmagic

Todd Bates
I think Sasagi holds the key for Mann's future here. If Simi gets a run in first grade and shows he can do the job as a utility, with Watson and Hoy likely still around, I think Mann becomes surplus to requirements.
 

Frank McWilliams

Tony Butterfield
Think we only keep Mann if we can’t get a right centre otherwise not needed, Watson is our best utility but not a permanent fix in any position, Randall yes to top 30, need a good backup hooker in case Brailey gets injured and he can play other positions so a bit of a backup to Watson, like to see Crossland and Sasagi play 7 & 6 in reserves and allowed to develop skills. Need a long run of no injuries to allow all players to play in preferred position, 1sts or res, rather than filling in at unfamiliar roles.
 

HarVeeGee13

Shane Vincent
Yeah it’s possible that if we didn’t lose so much player development time to COVID, Mann being re-signed wouldn’t have even been contemplated. But now with that time lost we don’t really know what we have in a lot of the young kids. Whatever you might say about Kurt, you know what you’re going to get. Even if he’s just retained as the 18th man, with the injuries we get we’ll probably need him every week anyway lol.
 

TMan

Con Mika
Think we only keep Mann if we can’t get a right centre otherwise not needed, Watson is our best utility but not a permanent fix in any position, Randall yes to top 30, need a good backup hooker in case Brailey gets injured and he can play other positions so a bit of a backup to Watson, like to see Crossland and Sasagi play 7 & 6 in reserves and allowed to develop skills. Need a long run of no injuries to allow all players to play in preferred position, 1sts or res, rather than filling in at unfamiliar roles.
Agreed. We don't seem to fair well playing lads out of position week after week !! I get injuries don't give us many options like ..
 

Billy

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
Jones said in his after game interview that the plan was for him to do some time at lock.
As he gets more comfortable with firstgrade he is starting to show all the reasons he was rated so highly as a junior.
He is a smart and competitive guy. He runs good lines, he makes good decisions, he never gives up, he keeps a cool head.
Obviously he is still the new kid on the block in firstgrade - not the guy who captioned the side and led by example to take us to a national title in under 16s, or the guy who played a season at 5/8 in under 18s and showed he was as smart as any half.
I can see him turning into a Ben Kennedy style lock - given the freedom to roam around looking for weak defenders and good lines to run, and always finding the right place to defend and chasing down breakaways.
After he missed a season with stress fractures in his back at 18 and was dropped straight into reserve grade at 19, he never seemed to be the same player, but a good part of that I think was because he was the "kid" in seniors, and not the "man" he was in juniors.
But the more he gets dropped into difficult situations in firstgrade, the more you can see that he is still a smart, level headed and competitive guy who will rise to the occasion.
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien
A lot could depend on what happens with Sasagi this season. He is getting game time against men and sounds like he is going very well. It makes me think he will play top grade at some point. Right centre and 14 would be the most likely options I believe. If he makes a home at either it could have ramifications for the likes of Tuala and Mann.
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien
I think King could literally play a full career here on minimum wage. I don't think anyone else is going to offer him more. I'be happy if he did, he is a good solid first grader now which makes him good value.
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien
I thought Jones could do something similar to what I just said about King. I think Jones is just starting to show what he can really do when given a chance in good company at a time when forwards his size will start coming back in to vogue. I think Jones will become an Obi favourite and won't be out of out top 17 from now on.
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien
I think Hymel Hunt is one of the best value players on our roster. I'd be resigning him straight away. I wouldn't be waiting too much longer on Watson either. Not only do I think he has found his position, I think he is a great guy to have around the club off the field too, signified by a deserved win of the NRL community award last year. Being such good mates with Kalyn doesn't hurt either.
 

Billy

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
I think Hymel Hunt is one of the best value players on our roster. I'd be resigning him straight away. I wouldn't be waiting too much longer on Watson either. Not only do I think he has found his position, I think he is a great guy to have around the club off the field too, signified by a deserved win of the NRL community award last year. Being such good mates with Kalyn doesn't hurt either.
He needs to learn to cook better.
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien
There aren't that many off contract players other who interest me that much as being better than what we have. One is Sebastian Kris, the hulking strike centre down at Canberra. We could offer him the right centre spot here, where he would be behind Croker and Scott at the raiders. Tevita Funa is another outside back who I think goes really well but can't get a start at manly. Adam Pompey at the warriors (will probably resign over there)? Braidon Burns (probably resign too)?
 

Billy

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
I thought Jones could do something similar to what I just said about King. I think Jones is just starting to show what he can really do when given a chance in good company at a time when forwards his size will start coming back in to vogue. I think Jones will become an Obi favourite and won't be out of out top 17 from now on.
King struggled at every age level. He was literally a bench player in under 20s till he was too old and I was very surprised he got a chance.
Jones was the complete opposite. He would have been very close to the best player of his agegroup in Australia till he injured himself doing a firstgrade preseason when he was too young. I don't think he ever played under 20s - he went straight to reserve grade.
King kept plugging away and eventually got just good enough.
Jones seemed to lose interest in the Brown years and was just doing enough to not get dropped.
I didn't think Jones would get another year, but apparently the first thing O'Brien did was ring Jones and sign him for a year. I suspect he knew about Jones because every team in the NRL would have had a file on him when he was 17.
In short, King had no talent and forced his way in with shear hard work.
Jones had all the talent in the world but lost his motivation for at least a few years. Now that he is trying, it's no surprise he is doing well.
 
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