Knights halfback Jack Cogger will immediately seek a formal release from the club after signing a two-year deal with Canterbury on Tuesday.
Cogger, contracted to the Knights until the end of the season, has signed with the Bulldogs for 2019-2020 but remains hopeful the Knights will allow him to leave for Belmore early.
“Jack is leaving the Knights for the opportunity to play in the NRL which is the only reason he is going,” Cogger’s manager Michael Newton said.
“The Knights have told us they won’t be releasing him early but we will still formally apply and see how we go.
“It is not too dissimilar to how Mitchell Pearce ended up at the Knights with the Roosters allowing him to go after they signed Cooper Cronk.
“But at the end of the day, Jack is very grateful for what the Knights have done for him so will abide by whatever the club decides.”
A former Australian Schoolboy halfback, Cogger has also represented NSW Under 20s in recent seasons which is where he formed a bond with new Bulldogs coach Dean Pay.
Despite the signing of Pearce, the Knights had been hoping to retain Cogger but in the end, didn’t make a formal offer.
“They would have only been prepared to offer a new deal for one year and it would still only have been as a back-up halfback,” Newton said.
Meanwhile, Knights back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon has urged close mate Brock Lamb to “stick around” at the club long term, claiming Mitchell Pearce’s influence will be good for him in the long run.
The Knights are in danger of losing Lamb to a rival club at the end of 2018 after signing Roosters teammates Pearce and Connor Watson.
Pearce, the incumbent NSW halfback, has been signed for four years while Watson has been promised first crack at cementing a position in the halves by coach Nathan Brown. It has left Lamb, who played 21 NRL games last season, resigned to starting in the NSW Cup unless there is an injury.
Fitzgibbon hoped Lamb will make a decision on his future with the big picture in mind.
“We’re good mates and we did form a bit of a combination at the back-end of the season when we played together,” Fitzgibbon said. “Lamby will find himself back in the side, I’ve got no doubts about that. He’s a really talented young player and he’s only 20 years old.
“I think for himself, he’d admit having Mitch around the club will be a good thing for him in the long run.”
Fitzgibbon said Lamb’s attitude during the pre-season could not be faulted despite his likely demotion and the scrutiny surrounding his future.
“He’s taken it well, he’s training the house down and has been one of our best trainers over the past month or so, not only with fitness but in opposed sessions,” Fitzgibbon said.
“His attitude has been unreal and it’s a matter of time before he finds himself in first grade and he might even be there for round one yet.
“He’ll bounce back and I think he’ll be one of the best in the game in a few years. I really just hope he sticks around.”