Newcastle playmaker Brock Lamb is edging closer to having to make a call on his playing future with the Knights understood to be already in the marketplace looking for his replacement.
While coach Nathan Brown has made it clear he wanted to retain Lamb beyond the end of the season, the fact the club is now actively searching for two halfback options for next season suggests they are resigned to him leaving along with the Bulldogs-bound Jack Cogger.
Lamb’s manager Gavin Orr did little to hose down that scenario over the weekend when asked about Lamb’s future at the Knights.
“Personally, I can’t see him staying,” Orr told the Newcastle Herald.
“At this stage, the Knights haven’t even made me a written offer for Brock as yet.
“All they have said is they probably can’t get to what I want [money-wise] and I’ve heard nothing further from them.
“As I said, I can’t see him staying but it will be up to Brock at the end of the day.”
Orr said he is currently in negotiations with four rival NRL clubs and also revealed the Knights refused a request to release Lamb prior to June 30 with two clubs believed to be keen to take him on.
One of the clubs was Manly, who ironically ended up signing former Knights halfback Trent Hodkinson from Cronulla to fill a playmaking void.
It’s understood the Knights refused to allow Lamb to leave because of the decision to release Hodkinson in the pre-season coupled with the injury to Mitchell Pearce.
“It would have left us short in the halves at the time and vulnerable to another injury,” a Knights source said.
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The problem Lamb is facing is his bargaining power is diminishing with every game he plays in the NSW Cup competition.
After featuring in 21 NRL games in 2017, he has played in just eight this season and three of those were at the start of the season off the bench.
He has had three starts at five-eighth when Connor Watson was injured with his last two appearances in rounds 10 and 11 at halfback in defeats by Penrith and Gold Coast.
He fractured his cheekbone against the Titans and hasn’t had a look in since he returned from injury.
Mitchell Pearce’s return on Friday night against Parramatta after three months out only makes his path back to the top grade even more difficult.