WAYNE Bennett has contacted rookie prop Sam Anderson to try to convince him his future lies with Newcastle, not Penrith.
Anderson was approached last week by Panthers supremo Phil Gould, who is trying to lure Newcastle’s under-20 player of the year to the foot of the mountains next season.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said yesterday that he was confident Anderson, a West Maitland junior, would accept a one-year contract extension.
Gidley revealed incoming coach Bennett had spoken to the former Kurri Kurri first-grader to persuade him that the Knights consider his retention a priority, after outgoing Newcastle coach Rick Stone delivered a similar message last week.
‘‘Wayne spoke to Sam on Tuesday, I spoke to Sam yesterday and everything is moving along nicely,’’ Gidley said.
‘‘We’ve all got a high opinion of Sam ... he won not only player of the year but also players’ player in our under 20s and we’re looking to reward him hopefully with a spot in our full-time squad over the summer, working with Wayne Bennett.’’
Gidley said Anderson had a ‘‘good job’’ in the Hunter Valley mining industry but was weighing up rugby league as a career path.
‘‘He’s undecided whether to continue juggling both, or whether to park his apprenticeship for 12months and give full-time footy a crack,’’ Gidley said.
‘‘That’s what we’re working through at the moment.’’
Newcastle’s engine-room stocks have been depleted by the departures of Mark Taufua (Cronulla), Antonio Kaufusi (London), Dan Tolar (retired) and Josh Ailaomai (Roosters) but the club have signed Test prop Kade Snowden from the Sharks and rookie Robbie Rochow from Melbourne.
Tyro Zane Tetevano will be hoping for more opportunities next season and under-20s prop Rodney Mason, the younger brother of former Test star Willie Mason, will step up into the senior squad.
‘‘We’ve got some good young front-rowers coming through,’’ Gidley said.
? Knights halfback Jarrod Mullen faces the next five weeks with his arm in a sling after having a shoulder arthroscopy done on Tuesday.
Mullen partly dislocated his right shoulder and tore his rotator cuff in Newcastle’s 26-6 loss to Brisbane on August 22.
He said Tuesday’s surgery was a clean-up procedure.
After five weeks in a sling he will begin rehabilitation and is expected to be on light duties when Newcastle’s pre-season training kicks off in early November.
Mullen partly dislocated his left shoulder in Newcastle’s season-ending loss to Melbourne 19 days ago but said that was ‘‘all good’’.