KNIGHTS coach Nathan Brown has revealed he might not finish filling his roster until early next year.
Newcastle are still waiting to see what players become available as other clubs deal with the salary-cap squeeze, and Brown said: “I’d imagine those things would take place probably even in the new year”.
In the meantime, there will be vacancies in Newcastle’s 30-man NRL squad that Brown will strategically fill with suitable reinforcements.
“I’d imagine we’ll probably save a few spots in our roster,’’ Brown said. “You can pretty well guarantee we’ll do that.
“We’d certainly like to add another three or four players to our roster over the coming three or four weeks, before the season ends. But we certainly won’t fill our roster [soon].”
One player in Newcastle’s sights is Brisbane and New Zealand Test prop Adam Blair, who is weighing up offers from the Knights, St George Illawarra, the Warriors and other unnamed clubs.
“We’ve put an offer out there,’’ Brown said.
“We’ve been in contact. I know there’s a number of other clubs that have made offers as well.
“As I understand it, Adam will make a decision this week or next week.
“We’re not clearer whether he’s going to come to us. Obviously we’d like that.”
One guaranteed signing for next season, North Queensland dynamo Kalyn Ponga, suffered a shoulder injury playing against Cronulla last weekend and Brown said the Knights were waiting to learn the extent.
“We’ll get some sort of confirmation of where he’s at over the next few days,” he said.
Meanwhile, Knights fullback Nathan Ross said he was “a bit ginger” after training on Tuesday as he strives to prove his fitness for Friday’s clash with Canberra.
Ross has missed two games since he suffered a fractured bone in his back playing against the Warriors.
“We’ll name Rossy,’’ Brown said. “If he pulls up well today, he’ll play. As long as he gets through the session and feels good.
“He’ll get named and whether he plays, we’ll know more tomorrow. But certainly he’s trained well, got through the season, got through all his contact and did everything we’ve required … he’s not in any risk of doing any further damage.
“It’s just a matter of being able to handle a little bit of pain.”
Newcastle have named Jack Cogger as replacement for injured five-eighth Brock Lamb (knee). Cogger played in six NRL games last year but has not featured this season, after a long lay-off with groin surgery.