KNIGHTS coach Nathan Brown has not given up on re-signing Brock Lamb but accepts that will be unlikely if the playmaker is offered a regular starting spot at a rival club.
Lamb, the 21-year-old Maitland product, is off contract and weighing up his options after the arrival in Newcastle of former Roosters Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson at the end of last season.
The Knights have talked to Lamb about staying but realise he has reached a point in his career where there might be greater opportunity – and financial rewards – for him elsewhere.
Manly were one club rumoured to be interested in his services but they recently signed one of Lamb’s former teammates, Trent Hodkinson, for the rest of this season and next year.
“We made it quite clear from the start that Brock is part of our plans, going forward,’’ Brown said.
“From talking to his manager, Brock would like be a starting halfback, and obviously at our club that’s Mitchell’s position.
“I’m sure they’ve had a look around, but what is out there and where that is at, I’m not quite sure … If Brock was to get offered a starting position at another club, that’s when it would become difficult for us.”
Brown said preliminary discussions with Lamb’s agent, Gavin Orr, had not progressed into a formal offer because of the disparity between his asking price and what they Knights were willing to pay.
“His manager would probably tell you we haven’t made him an offer, but the money that he wants to get paid, it’s probably not feasible for us to have our back-up halfback on that type of money,” Brown said.
“We’ve made it very clear to Brock we would like him to stay, but they’ve also made it very clear where they’re at as well. Ultimately, these things come down to dollars and cents. It’s got to work for Brock and it’s got to work for the Knights as well.
“Where he’ll be next year is anyone’s guess.”
Brown said Lamb, who has played in 32 NRL games, was in a similar situation to his long-time scrum-base partner Jack Cogger.
Cogger is joining Canterbury at the end of the season on a two-year deal, primarily because the arrival of Pearce blocked his pathway to the NRL.
“We’re losing Jack but not because of money,” Brown said.
“He’s leaving because he’s been guaranteed he’ll be playing halfback at Canterbury.
“These things are going to happen, the stronger our roster gets.
“So if we lose Brock and he goes on to be a starting player at another club, we’ll be disappointed, but you’re always happy that someone is furthering their career.”
Lamb has missed Newcastle’s past two games with a fractured cheekbone but will return in reserve grade against Wyong Roos on Saturday.
With Pearce unavailable for another month because of a torn pectoral, Cogger has been retained as Newcastle’s No.7 for Saturday’s clash with the Roosters after an impressive showing in the 30-4 win against Parramatta last weekend.
Meanwhile, big prop Daniel Saifiti faces a fitness test at training on Friday.
Saifiti suffered a foot injury against the Eels and might struggle to back up against the Roosters. If he was ruled out, Newcastle have a ready-made replacement in Herman Ese’ese, who returns from suspension.