CANBERRA-bound Knights forward Joel Edwards is tipped to be the casualty of Newcastle’s horror start against the Bulldogs when their 18-man squad for the NRL match against the Sharks on Monday night at Hunter Stadium is trimmed.
Edwards agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Raiders reported to be worth about $600,000 on the eve of Newcastle’s 26-10 loss to Canterbury at Hunter Stadium last Saturday night.
It came two days after the Cessnock Goannas junior rejected a two-year extension with the Knights said to be worth more than $300,000.
The 24-year-old followed the dramatic week with a 31-minute display against the Bulldogs in which he made six runs for 49metres.
He made 15 tackles but missed two, including one that allowed Josh Reynolds to score a soft try in the 17th minute.
Krisnan Inu converted for the Bulldogs to lead 24-0.
The Knights named an 18-man squad on Tuesday for their round-23 game against the Sharks, because of the return of former Test and NSW Origin prop Kade Snowden from a knee injury he suffered in round 17 against Parramatta.
Zane Tetevano was moved to the bench and named 18th man in the Knights team.
Robbie Rochow, Zeb Taia, Adam Cuthbertson and Alex McKinnon were selected on an extended bench with Tetevano.
Edwards, who started against Canterbury, was again named in the second row but the Herald has been told he is the player likely to drop out and play NSW Cup for Newcastle against Mounties at Mount Pritchard Sportsground tomorrow.
If he is dropped, the move will spark speculation he is paying for his decision to snub his home-town club and secure a richer deal at Canberra.
Edwards has played in Wayne Bennett’s side every week he has been available this year.
He has missed one match, the 32-12 loss to the Cowboys in round 10, and that was through a one-week suspension for a dangerous throw on Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce.
He has has played 80minutes five times this season and his 31 minutes against Canterbury was the second-least game time he has received this season, edging out the 30 minutes he played in the 34-22 loss to Melbourne in round five.