Newcastle playmaker Brock Lamb has been urged not to make a hasty decision on his NRL future as the Knights ponder the likely loss of Jack Cogger to Canterbury at the end of this season.
Knights coach Nathan Brown concedes it is almost inevitable the club will “lose players we don’t want to lose” as the squad gets stronger but admitted holding onto Lamb remains a priority.
“If we do lose Jack, obviously we certainly wouldn’t want to lose Brock,” Brown said.
“But the reality is the stronger our squad gets, the more likely it is we will lose players we don’t want to lose. Some of these decisions aren’t monetary decisions, they are more opportunity decisions.”
Cogger is on the verge of signing with the Bulldogs for 2019 and 2020 with the promise of a starting NRL halfback position something the Knights can’t provide following the acquisition of Mitchell Pearce for the next four years.
For the same reasons, Lamb is looking at his options elsewhere but with Cogger set to depart, it is imperative the Knights do whatever they can to keep him.
“I think we made it clear from day one we wanted to keep both players [Cogger and Lamb] but we always thought realistically, there was a chance of losing one,”Brown said.
Asked where the club is at with Lamb, Brown said:
“There is a lot of water to go under the bridge yet. As we have said to Brock, we’d hate him to make a quick decision because who knows what might unfold this year.”
Brown again reiterated the club’s position on not releasing players early in relation to Cogger with the 20 year-old still having a season to run on his contract.
“There is absolutely no benefit in it at all for our club,”he said.
“I know people will say we have let people go in the past but in the past, we were at a totally different stage of our development.
“We’d like to think we are going to wins some games of footy this year and Jack Cogger will be a part of that and if Jack does decide to go, we will all shake hands at the end and move on then.
“As at this stage, he will certainly be with the Knights. He’s a great kid who comes from a great family and is working as hard as he can and he’ll have a good year with us this year.”
The Knights returned to pre-season training on Thursday after a fortnight off with the club still having around $1 million left to spend in their salary cap.
Brown is eyeing off a middle forward and another centre but indicated he is looking for quality and experience rather than up-and-comers so won’t be rushing into anything.
“Most squads appear pretty stable at this stage right across the board but you never know what might pop up,”he said.
“If we can have our current squad fit and able, we’ll be happy to go into the season that way.
“If we start the year fully fit, we are in a far better position than we were this time last year and that’s all we can ask for.”