WESTS Group/Knights chief executive Phil Gardner hopes Brock Lamb will become a long-term player for his home-town club.
Lamb’s future has come under scutiny after Newcastle’s recruitment of Roosters duo Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson, who are likely to be the first-choice halves pairing when next season kicks off.
Lamb’s manager, Gavin Orr, was quoted on foxsports.com.au last week saying “we don’t want Brock sitting in reserve grade”, indicating he he would seek permission to explore other options if that was a likely scenario.
It is understood Manly expressed interest in signing him to replace Blake Green, who has joined the Warriors.
But the Knights insist 20-year-old Lamb will not be released from his contract for 2018 under any circumstances.
“Brock Lamb is contracted to us next year,” Gardner said.
“I think Brock is very happy here.
“He’s looking to have a great season next year and we’re expecting him to play some first grade. He’s an important part of our club, and he’s here for next season.”
The former Australian Schoolboys five-eighth debuted in 2015 and has played in 24 top-grade games.
He was a nominee for last season’s Dally M rookie-of-the-year award, won by Canberra’s Nick Cotric, after a breakout year in which he scored five tries, kicked 23 goals and produced a team-high 10 try assists.
A Maitland junior, Lamb has long been considered one of Newcastle’s brightest prospects and Gardner hopes he sees no reason to seek greener pastures.
“We hope we can convince Brock to stay beyond the end of next year,” Gardner said.
“We see him as a long-term player for us. We think he fits into our group really well. Fingers crossed that he not only plays well for us next year but for a number of years to come.”
Knights coach Nathan Brown has guaranteed Watson first crack at playing alongside Pearce next season, but that could potentially leave the team without a recognised goalkicker.
“He’s got one great advantage, he can kick goals,” Gardner said of Lamb, who had an 82.14 per cent strike rate last season.
While the Knights are eager to retain Lamb, it is understood they would be willing to release Trent Hodkinson from the last year of his contract.
Hodkinson has reportedly attracted interest from his original NRL club, Manly, although there have also been suggestions that the Sea Eagles are considering making an offer for controversial Todd Carney, who has signed for Queensland Cup side Northern Pride next season.