DURING a guest appearance on a Foxtel rugby league panel last year, Nathan Brown was asked for his opinion about Brisbane’s prospects in an upcoming play-off.
They would struggle, the Knights coach predicted, because they had “no power runners”.
By power runners, he meant big, explosive middle forwards capable of charging into the ruck and putting their team on the front foot.
The type of players Newcastle would dearly love themselves.
On Thursday, the Knights announced the signing of Melbourne prop Tim Glasby to a three-year deal.
Most would agree it’s a coup. At 29, Glasby has won a premiership with the Storm, an Origin series with Queensland and played in 94 NRL games.
He’s been a quiet achiever in a great team and will bring invaluable experience when he arrives for the start of the 2019 pre-season.
But is he a ball carrier capable of striking genuine fear into opposition defenders? Probably not.
He’s more of a workhorse, whose fortes are playing the ball quickly after every hit-up and, in particular, a well-drilled defensive technique.
The starting point for selection in Melbourne’s engine-room rotation is tackling efficiency. To have been a regular on their team sheet for the past five years suggests Glasby will be an asset in his new surrounds.
Preferably for Brown and the Knights, he won’t be the only front-rower they recruit between now and the start of next season.
Newcastle have money set aside to bolster their ranks for 2019. Another prop and an outside back head their shopping list.
The type of big man they are likely to chase will be in contrast to Glasby. What they need is a human bulldozer able to demolish the type of brick walls Penrith erected in last week’s 29-18 win against Newcastle.
What would Brown give for a Nelson Asofa-Solomona, a Martin Taupau, a Tevita Pangai Junior, a David Klemmer or an Andrew Fifita?
The trouble is such players are in high demand and command top dollar.
In the meantime, Brown will be hoping to get more out of his incumbent middle men.
Herman Ese’ese has been consistently impressive, while Josh King, Chris Heighington and Jacob Lillyman, like Glasby, are more toilers than impact players.
Daniel and Jacob Saifiti have shown so much potential. Perhaps using them in tandem as interchange weapons off the bench – starting against Gold Coast on Saturday – will provide the power surge the Knights desperately need.