JUST call them the Newcastle Panthers. Penrith will boast 10 former Knights players on their roster next season and two former Knights coaches after the acquisition this week of Newcastle NSW Cup forwards Ethan Cook and Sam Anderson, and National Youth Cup (under-20) utility back Geordie Connelly.
They will join Knights NRL squad members Wes Naiqama and Kyle O'Donnell, who have signed two-year deals with the Panthers.
Penrith have had Knights juniors Brad Tighe and Luke Walsh on their books since 2008 and 2009 respectively, and forwards Cameron Ciraldo and Clint Newton played their first seasons there this year.
Knights junior Daniel Foster, 19, who played for Western Suburbs in the Newcastle Rugby League grand final last year, played NYC for Penrith this year and is eligible to play again next season.
Cook and Anderson, who have signed for two years and one year respectively, will play for the Knights in their NSW Cup preliminary final against Balmain Ryde-Eastwood at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
Connelly, 19, who like Anderson is a West Maitland Red Dogs junior, can still play NYC next year and will join his former Knights coach Garth Brennan on a one-year deal.
Brennan joined Ivan Cleary's coaching staff at Penrith this season and was named NYC coach of the year. Former Norths, Newcastle, NSW and Australian forward David Fairleigh was one of Cleary's assistant coaches at the Warriors and followed him to the Panthers last summer.
The Knights released 20-year-old hooker Chris Knight this year to play out the NYC season with Brennan at the Panthers, but Knight is off contract and is returning to Newcastle.
Anderson, Newcastle's NYC players' player and player of the year last season, said knowing there would be so many former Knights at Penrith would help him acclimatise. He and Cook plan to go house-hunting in Penrith once the Knights' NSW Cup campaign is over.
"There's a good group of us already down there, once we get set up, and that will make it a lot easier," Anderson said.
"Having a good relationship with Garth Brennan, my 20s coach here last year, that all helps, and they all seem pretty good at Penrith.
"The only person I haven't met yet is Ivan but Gus [Phil Gould] has been really good and supportive."
Anderson, who will finish his fitter's apprenticeship with Donaldson Coal tomorrow to concentrate on football full-time, said he and Cook hoped to help the Knights win the NSW Cup before they left.
"Growing up, I've always supported the Knights and I'll always support the Knights, and this is a good opportunity to win a comp with them after playing my juniors with them," he said.
"It's a good group of boys, we're all good mates, so we're definitely not worried about next year just yet. We still want to win this comp and we've played well all year."
Anderson said he would always be grateful to the Knights for giving him a start but he believed there would be more opportunities to play NRL with the Panthers.
"This time next year, hopefully, my goal is to be extending my time at Penrith," he said.
"You don't want to keep signing one-year deals, so we'll have to wait and see how it is but by meeting everyone down there, they all seem like a good group of people . . . There's a lot of good blokes down there, with Ivan and Gus and Brenno and David Fairleigh, so I think we'll all fit in well down there."
Fairleigh was the Knights' players' player of the year and player of the year in 2000.
The former North Sydney international went on to coach the club's reserve-grade side in 2005 and 2006 before continuing his coaching career at Parramatta and the Warriors, and he has coached the Cook Islands national team since 2009.
Brennan was a lower-grade and junior representative coach at the Knights from 2003 to 2011, and after he won the NYC coach of the year award last month, Gould, who is Panthers general manager of football, described him as a future NRL coach.
"Garth Brennan is a champion bloke, a quality NRL coach in the making, and he has added a lot to our club, so this award is thoroughly deserved," he said.
● Knights NSW Cup coach Rip Taylor has named halfback Adrian Davis to return from a knee injury in Sunday's 1pm grand final qualifier against the Tigers.
The team is: Kevin Naiqama, Josh Mantellato, Junior Sa'u, Wes Naiqama, Nathan Ross, Ethan Cook, Adrian Davis, Evarn Tuimavave, Chris Adams, Shaun Boss, Robbie Rochow, Zane Tetevano, Warren Schillings. Bench: Mitch Williams, Alex Moore, Sam Anderson, Adam Withyman, Daniel Abraham, Dylan Smith (two to be omitted).