Sa'u, Naiqama likely to see out season with Knights

UNWANTED Knights Wes Naiqama and Junior Sa’u appear certain to see out the season in Newcastle after their managers revealed no deals had been struck to offload the pair.

The June 30 deadline for mid-season NRL transfers ends at midnight tonight.

The failure to move on Naiqama and Sa’u may present problems for Knights coach Wayne Bennett and his plans to reshape the roster for next season.

Naiqama’s manager, Darryl Mather, said yesterday that there was ‘‘absolutely no chance’’ his client would be leaving the Knights midway through the first season of a three-year contract.

‘‘He’s certainly not going before June 30; he’s got a three-year contract,’’ Mather said.

‘‘I keep seeing all this stuff and I don’t know where it’s coming from as he’s got a three-year deal and that is it as far as I’m concerned and that’s where the matter ends.’’

It has been reported that the Knights have been talking to the Canberra Raiders about swapping the Fijian utility back for former Kiwi Test back-rower Bronson Harrison.

At 29, Naiqama appears to have more to lose by throwing away a lucrative contract.

Sa’u, who is four years younger, is open to the option of leaving the Knights, but his manager, Steve Gillis, said no options were available.

‘‘I wouldn’t say he’s wanting to get out,’’ Gillis said.

‘‘It all comes down to options. If he hasn’t got any, he’s got a contract.

‘‘He’s obviously disappointed and wants to play NRL, so if an opportunity comes up, there’s a good chance he’ll take it. Right now, as I speak to you, there’s nothing there, but that could change in the next 24 hours.’’

Gillis had been talking to Cronulla about signing the stocky centre, but an offer has not been received.

‘‘I had a meeting with them last Saturday and I haven’t had any communication with them since, so I don’t think he’ll be there,’’ he said.

Rumours were circulating on Twitter last night that South Sydney were interested in a last-minute bid to sign Sa’u, but Gillis said that was incorrect.

Meanwhile, Knights winger James McManus has backed rookie fullback Peter Mata’utia to recover from his nightmare performance three weeks ago against Canberra and play a starring role in tonight’s match against the cellar-dwelling Eels at Parramatta Stadium.

Mata’utia made four howling errors in the disastrous 32-16 loss to the Raiders at Hunter Stadium in round 14, the former Australian Schoolboy star’s only appearance in first grade this season.

With first-choice No.1 Darius Boyd on State of Origin duty with Queensland, Mata’utia gets an opportunity at redeeming himself.

‘‘It’s about getting some more time on the field and being secure and knowing what his job is and executing it, so I think that’s what we’ve got to go out and do,’’ McManus said of Mata’utia.

‘‘It’s hard when you’re coming up and there’s a lot of pressure on you and a lot of pressure you put on yourself really to look good in front of everyone else.

‘‘You tend to get away from what works for you. We’ll just be going out there to execute and hopefully we’ll go well.’’

McManus said the 21-year-old had quickly shaken off the disappointing performance.’’

The Knights head into the clash with Parramatta as favourites with enigmatic Eels star Jarryd Hayne on NSW Origin duty.

The Eels have not had successive victories since 2010 and the Knights have failed to post consecutive wins this season.

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