CRONULLA are firming as the most likely destination for Trent Hodkinson despite Manly coach Trent Barrett declaring he had not given up on luring the Knights halfback back to Brookvale.
Hodkinson, who has one season to run on his contract with Newcastle, is facing a battle to play first grade after the club’s decision to sign Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson from the Roosters.
Knights officials have indicated they are happy to release the former NSW Origin playmaker if he feels it will benefit his career, and he has talked to both Manly and Cronulla. The former NSW Origin playmaker knocked back an initial offer from the Sharks, but is understood to be carefully considering a revised deal.
Manly have been constrained by an NRL investigation into alleged salary cap breaches but Barrett told Sky Sports Radio on Tuesday that he was still hopeful of signing Hodkinson to replace Blake Green, who recently joined the Warriors.
“We have spoken to Trent,” Barrett said. “I would like a little bit of depth in that area … but [we're] in a difficult spot at the moment with our recruitment. We are on hold with everything.
"We have got money there, [but] until we get a ruling on the cap and the situation handed down to us, I'm stuck.
"It's not ideal but it is what it is and it certainly hasn't disrupted our preparation."
Hodkinson started his NRL career with Manly in 2010, playing in 24 games before linking with Canterbury and then Newcastle.
He would appear a ready-made replacement for five-eighth Green, who recently joined the Warriors.
Barrett hinted that new recruit Lachlan Croker, formerly of Canberra, would begin the season wearing the No.6 jumper ahead of fellow halves contender Jackson Hastings.