Trent Robinson undecided on future at Knights

KNIGHTS assistant coach Trent Robinson is weighing up the options of staying with Newcastle next season or linking with his mentor Brian Smith at Sydney Roosters.

Newly appointed head coach Rick Stone said yesterday that he was hopeful Robinson would remain as his right-hand man but was waiting for a decision.

Stone, who was handed the top job on Friday when Newcastle's board of directors asked Smith to stand aside, said he had not yet had a chance to consider the composition of his coaching staff next season.

"We haven't discussed the structure of our coaching tree at the present time," he said.

"That's likely to happen early next week when we get the chance to take a breath after what's been happening for the last few weeks and with a short turnaround [before Saturday's home clash with North Queensland]."

If Robinson chose to leave, Stone would have to recruit a new coaching staff for his senior squad next year.

Newcastle under-20s coach Rohan Smith has signalled his intention to leave the club at season's end, though not necessarily to join his father at the Roosters.

Rohan Smith is understood to have attracted interest from Super League clubs but there has been speculation linking him with Parramatta.

Robinson, 32, joined Newcastle with Smith in 2007 and coached their Premier League team in 2007 and their under 20s last season.

The former Balmain and Parramatta forward served an apprenticeship coaching French club Toulouse and is a sports science specialist.

It is understood that the Roosters have offered him a similar assistant-coaching position to the role he occupies with Newcastle.

Stone said retaining Robinson was "the highest priority as far as I'm concerned".

"He's working through a couple of issues and has to make a decision," he said.

"Obviously he's got an opportunity to go with Smithy but we're more than hopeful that he'll stay.

"But at the end of the day . . . he has to make a decision on his lifestyle and where he wants to live and work.

"He's an outstanding young coach and all the Knights people are keen for him to stay here and I'm sure all the players are as well."

Robinson and Rohan Smith said yesterday that they would prefer not to comment until they had made a decision and relayed the message to club officials.

Stone was hopeful injured wingers Keith Lulia (ankle) and Cooper Vuna (knee) would be fit to tackle North Queensland on Saturday night after having scans yesterday.

"We think Keith might have a bone spur but he's still a possibility of playing when it settles down," he said.

"He may not train tomorrow but may still be a chance of playing on the weekend.

"I think Cooper will be right to play.

"I'll have a little bit more info tomorrow, once we talk to the medical staff."

If either or both wingers were ruled out, Akuila Uate, Shannon McDonnell and Luke MacDougall were in the frame for a call-up.