THE debuted within a week of each other and played more than 200 games together for the Roosters.
Now Shaun Kenny-Dowall wants Mitchell Pearce to join him at the Knights.
Pearce, the NSW Origin halfback, ended weeks of speculation on Monday by securing a release from the Roosters after their decision to recruit former Melbourne champion Cooper Cronk.
Newcastle, Cronulla and Manly are all interested in signing the 28-year-old, and Manly announced on Monday they had released five-eighth Blake Green, apparently so that they can accommodate Pearce.
But Kenny-Dowall has been in contact with his long-time mate, urging him to consider the Knights.
“There’s been a few messages,” Kenny-Dowall said.
“I’ve just told him how much of a good place Newcastle is and that if he wanted to make the decision to come up here, we’d love to have him.
“He’s a world-class player and his presence on the field would be great for the club.
“He would be a great addition and a great asset for the club, but at the end of the day that’s his decision.”
Kenny-Dowall moved to Newcastle five months ago and is relishing the lifestyle.
“I feel really comfortable here now,” he said.
“It’s a slower pace, less traffic, but a nice place to live and friendly people. It’s a great town.”
Kenny-Dowall has already welcomed two other former Roosters teammates, representative back-rower Aidan Guerra and promising five-eighth Connor Watson, to Newcastle in recent weeks.
“Connor is a fast and exuberant type of player, and Aidan has played for Queensland and won a premiership with the Roosters, so he’s an experienced player,” Kenny-Dowall said.
“His leadership and talk around the forwards is going to bring a lot to the team.
“That will really help, having a leader around the club who has big-game experience.”
Pearce's exit came less than an hour after Manly announced the immediate release of veteran playmaker Green, who is widely tipped to join the Warriors on a three-year deal.
The 28-year-old Pearce has played all 238 of his NRL games so far for the Tricolours.
"Obviously, this hasn't been an easy decision for me to come to, but I feel that it's the right one," Pearce said in a statement on Monday.
"I've been with the Roosters since I was 17 and have grown into a man here. I've made a lot of close friends at the club, and I've always been proud to wear the Roosters jersey."
It is understood Pearce and his management have yet to officially open talks with any clubs. The playmaker hinted it could be weeks until he reveals his new home. But after Blake's departure at Manly the Sea Eagles would loom as early favourites.
"The Roosters club and people there will always mean a lot to me," Pearce said.
"But I'm looking forward to the opportunity and challenge joining a new club will bring, while continuing to push myself to be the best halfback I can be.
"Now that I've made this decision, hopefully I'll have the rest of my future sorted over the next few weeks."
Roosters chairman Nick Polities is adamant the club wanted to keep Pearce in the squad. “Mitchell has been a big part of the Sydney Roosters club for more than a decade,” he said.
“He's played 11 seasons of NRL and is among the most-capped players in our club's history.
"We all love Pearcey - he has developed very strong relationships with a number of people at the club and we have been through a lot together.
"While it would have been great to see him continue to add to his legacy at the Roosters, we respect his decision."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson also thanked Pearce for his long service.
"I'd personally like to thank Pearcey for the role he's played at the Roosters.
"He's a good person who will always have many friends at the club, and I know I speak on behalf of everyone in wishing him all the very best."