Column | Toohey's News - Mitchell Pearce holds no fears for a Black Friday return from injury

It may not be the greatest of omens but Mitchell Pearce is clearly not superstitious.

We can reveal the Knights playmaker has Friday the 13th of July pencilled in as the day he will make his much-anticipated return from a torn pectorial muscle.

The Knights co-captain and most influential player has started some light contact work and is lifting a few weights and is naturally desperate to get back on the field following the injury he suffered against the Wests Tigers in Tamworth in round seven.

But he says he won't gamble on his fitness and make the mistake of coming back too early.

"I'm looking at getting back for the game here at home against the Eels [July 13],"Pearce told us this week.

Mitchell Pearce

Mitchell Pearce

While it may still be five weeks away, Pearce will only miss another three games because the Knights have two byes during that period. 

"It will mean missing the next three games and playing the last eight leading into the play-offs,"he said.

The Knights face the Roosters tonight and the Storm next Sunday before a bye, leading into another home game against the Bulldogs on June 30 before a further bye, followed by the Eels clash.

The Bulldogs game will be exactly 10 weeks after Pearce sustained the injury against the Tigers on April 21, which is considered the absolute earliest time-frame to recover from a torn pec.

Knowing the halfback, he will be working his backside off in a bid to prove his fitness for that game but given there is a bye a week later, the extra couple of weeks to fully recover makes a whole lot of sense.

Pearce is banking on the Knights picking up a win or two before his return to keep the club in the hunt for the play-offs.

Ferguson link is premature

The rumours circulating around the Knights and a bid for Roosters winger Blake Ferguson appear off the mark – for now.

We’ve been told there has been absolutely no contact between the club and Ferguson and the speculation may have been started by a third party, who is pushing the Roosters winger’s barrow and knows the Knights are in the market for outside backs.

But while nothing is doing at the moment, that’s not to say things will stay that way.

Ferguson’s chequered past will be a big issue for the Knights and Wests Group officials if the club does decide to entertain the possibility of making him an offer. 

Blake Ferguson

Blake Ferguson

But the word out of Bondi is he is completely off the drink and has cleaned up his act off the field.

It may come down to whether the club believes he is a gamble worth taking.

Still on recruitment, the goal posts appear to be changing almost daily in the lead up to June 30.

But while the Knights are keeping their cards hidden as they look to bring in reinforcements, they appear no closer to securing anyone.

They have been strongly linked to Wests Tigers prop Tim Grant but a well-placed source has told this column they don’t even know if Grant is keen on the move or whether the Tigers would release him or whether he fits longer term plans.

Dream shattered by late injury

The Knights had four players - Phoenix Crossland, Bradman Best, Jock Madden and Jaron Purcell - in the victorious NSW Under 18's side that beat Queensland prior to Origin 1 in Melbourne on Wednesday.

But spare a thought for another Knights youngster Brock Gardner, who was also in the squad until he tore his hamstring while training with the Junior Blues last Sunday and missed the game.

Ross injury a mystery

Don’t expect Knights centre Nathan Ross to be available for selection for the Storm clash next weekend.

We hear there has been little improvement in his injury over the past fortnight.

Nathan Ross

Nathan Ross

Loving life as a Goanna

Former Knight Chanel Mata'utia clearly hasn’t regretted quitting the club and walking away from a bucket-load of cash to sign with the Cessnock Goannas.

We’re told he is in the throes of moving his young family to Cessnock to live.

Chanel Mata'utia

Chanel Mata'utia

Coach sacked after scoring century

We reckon ex-Hamilton rugby coach David Clarke may have created a piece of unwanted history for himself in Newcastle this week.

Surely, Clarke is the first coach in any code anywhere in the world to be sacked after his team had just won a game 120-0.

While the Hawks’ winning margin last Saturday against legless Lake Macquarie wasn't unexpected given the Roos are making a habit of conceding more than a century of points in games this season, it’s not like the defending premiers were struggling going into the game.

It was their third straight win and they were sitting second on the premiership ladder when Clarke was unmercifully shown the door.

In normal circumstances, a coach would not only be as safe as houses with those sorts of stats but probably chasing a contract extension.

Instead, Clarke is left without a gig in what was just his first season at the helm of the Hawks. 

Scott Coleman and his family

Scott Coleman and his family

Some alleged deficiences in his communication skills are said to have led to his downfall.

But the writing was on the wall when Hawks officials managed to twist the arm of six-time premiership-winning coach Scott Coleman and talk him into taking over the reins again after he stood down as coach at the end of last season.

Two sons of guns make their mark

The sons of two well-known former players will take the field tomorrow for the NSW Country Under 19's when they clash with the Waratahs Academy side in a representative clash in Camden.

Country's big number 6 Lachlan Miller, who plays in the top grade for Merewether Carlton, is the son of former tough Newcastle Knights utility player and captain Glenn Miller while Country's hooker is Beau Merrick, the son of Singleton’s ex-Wallaby halfback Steve Merrick.

Former Newcastle Knight Glenn Miller

Former Newcastle Knight Glenn Miller

South African gig for coach

Lakes United coach Todd Edwards has been appointed assistant coach of the Australian Universities side that will travel to South Africa on October 20 for an 11 day, three game tour.    

Edwards’ Seagulls are currently joint leaders of a congested Newcastle league ladder. 

Todd Edwards

Todd Edwards