Knights coach Nathan Brown's re-build will extend to his own football department staff in the off-season with the club preparing for a big shake-up of key personnel.
Assistant coach Mick Potter will exit after three seasons as Brown’s right-hand man while there will also be changes in the high performance department with the highly regarded Tony Ayoub departing along with strength and conditioning coach Luke Portese.
The club is also in the process of finalising lower grade coaching staff and will need to replace NSW Cup coach Simon Woolford, who left mid-season to join English club Huddersfield.
The Knights are currently finalising a deal with Tongan and Townsville Blackhawks Queensland Cup coach Kristian Woolf as Potter’s replacement.
It will be the fourth consecutive season under Brown the club will have had a change up in assistant coaching personnel.
Danny Buderus was there with Potter in 2016 but could not commit further because of his television commentary duties while his replacement Kurt Wrigley left at the end of last season after one year with his young family still living in Sydney.
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Brown revealed yesterday the decision to let Potter go was not an easy one as the pair enjoy a close relationship.
“Potts has been a head coach at three different clubs in three different countries and has done a super job at the Knights,” Brown said.
“I’ve worked with him here and at the Dragons and I couldn’t recommend him to any club more highly. He’s as loyal as they come and been a fantastic assistant.
“It is more a case of me wanting a bit of a change up and someone with some fresh ideas to come in and it is no secret we have been talking to Kristian Woolf in that regard.”
Ayoub has been at the club for the past two seasons and his medical expertise and ability to get players back on the field quickly after injury is considered his major strength.
Brown said he was hopeful Ayoub would stay on but with his family still living in Sydney, he has been forced to juggle his commitments in Newcastle with his family situation as well.
“We are looking at replacements now in those areas and Phil [Knights CEO Gardner] has made it a rule whoever comes in has to relocate their family here,”Brown said.