KNIGHTS coach Nathan Brown reckons Saturday’s clash with Brisbane in Newcastle won’t change anything in relation to signing Broncos duo Tautau Moga and Herman Ese'ese.
Next week an official announcement is expected about the talented pair joining the Knights from 2018 but Brown said the upcoming round 19 encounter between the NRL clubs wouldn’t be seen as a final trial.
“We’re interested in those players because of what we know they can do,” Brown said on Tuesday. “Whether they play against the Knights or not, or whether they play well against us isn’t going to change anything.
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into who we want to look at recruiting and why we want to recruit them, so this week isn’t going to play a part in what we do there.”
Brown didn’t confirm the signings but said this week would be a no-go zone for announcements considering Newcastle are about to play the team they’d be leaving.
“We wouldn’t look to make any announcements before the lead up to this game,” Brown said.
“The Broncos are heading down to play us, so if there’s any announcements with any of their players I would have thought it would probably be after.”
Moga, 23, was named in the centres for Brisbane on Tuesday while prop Ese’ese, 22, didn’t appear in the team list to play Newcastle.
Still on possible Knights’ signings and Brown played down links to NSW five-eighth and dual premiership winner James Maloney.
“It’s probably more of a question for the Sharks I’d think because at the moment he’s contracted to them for another year,” Brown said.
“He’s certainly a very influential player in our game and has been for a fair period of time. So if James Maloney became available for whatever reason, would you look at him? I think any club would look at him.”
Brown named an unchanged squad for Brisbane two days after a disappointing 20-18 loss to the Bulldogs.
The coach was hopeful skipper Sione Mata’utia (fractured finger) would recover in time following “better than expected” scans on Monday and was confident playmaker Brock Lamb would bounce back.
He also thought Queensland representative Dane Gagai would rebound from Wednesday night’s Origin decider.
KNIGHTS: 1 Nathan Ross 2 Chanel Mata’utia 3 Dane Gagai 4 Peter Mata’utia 5 Brendan Elliot 6 Brock Lamb 7 Trent Hodkinson 8 Daniel Saifiti 9 Danny Levi 10 Josh King 11 Sione Mata’utia 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13 Mitchell Barnett 14 Jamie Buhrer 15 Luke Yates 16 Joe Wardle 17 Jacob Saifiti 18 Sam Stone 19 Jacob Gagan 20 Tyler Randell 21 Mickey Paea