Cronulla hooker Jayden Brailey will be a Newcastle Knight in 2020 but he may not be the club's only Sharks recruit.
Another player from the Shire, who was on the cusp of Queensland Origin selection this season, is also believed to be in the sights of the Newcastle Knights.
We're hearing utility Kurt Capewell, who featured in the Maroons extended squad during the recent series without getting a call up, has been shortlisted as a potential target for next season as the club looks to bolster it's depth in the backrow.
With very limited room under the salary cap for 2020, hooker and backrow were the two recruitment positions the Knights identified as priorities a few months back. Hooker Brailey has already agreed to terms which just leaves a backrow spot to fill.
Capewell's name has been floated, as has experienced Manly backrower Joel Thompson, who at 30, could be a short-term option if the Knights have their eye on a bigger fish for 2021 when they will have far more money to spend and a bigger pool of players to choose from.
Tale of the tape
Thank heavens for CCTV footage! That's what Knights playmaker Mason Lino would no doubt have been thinking after he got himself into some bother at the Greenroof Hotel in Hamilton last weekend.
While Lino could still find himself in trouble with the club's disciplinary committee following a push-and-shove incident with a couple of drinkers at the pub, the initial reports suggested there was far more to it.
A female patron apparently complained to security at the time that she'd been punched in the face during the incident but footage clearly shows that wasn't the case.
The upshot is we're expecting the Greenroof Hotel to be on top of the list of late night venues in Newcastle off limits to Knights players from now on with club officials forced to take a stand.
The mail is getting stronger by the day Knights prop Herman Ese'ese will be granted a release from the final year of his contract to sign a multi-year deal with the Bulldogs. Doggies fans will no doubt take great delight in the signing if it comes off, given they still feel aggrieved that the Knights pinched David Klemmer off them.
We're expecting an announcement within the next fortnight confirming the re-signing of newly minted Origin prop Daniel Saifiti for at least the next three seasons.
It would have been already done by now but final negotiations were put on hold over the Origin period.
Matter of time
Knights fans with good memories won't be surprised current St Helens coach Justin Holbrook's name is being heavily tossed around as a potential NRL coach at either the Bulldogs or Gold Coast.
Only two people were granted second interviews when the Knights were looking for a new coach for 2016. One was current coach Nathan Brown and the other was Holbrook, who at that stage was right hand man to Trent Robinson at the Sydney Roosters and not far off getting the Newcastle job.
If the powers-that-be in ABC Radio sport thought their decision to dump local Knights caller Craig Hamilton from their team for next year would create barely a ripple of interest, they have been sadly mistaken.
Since our story about his imminent demise ran in this column last week, Hammo has been inundated with public support with some heavy hitters in the media also jumping on board to slam the move.
The real motive behind the decision remains a mystery but it is clearly not budget-related. We've been told little-known Brett Sprigg, who has an AFL background and is now Sydney-based after becoming a full-time commentator in 2016 in Perth, is Hammo's likely replacement next season after he is "trained up" for the role.
The big beneficiaries will be Triple M Newcastle and their truly local call featuring Frank Barrett, Michael Hagan, Marc Glanville and Matt Rodwell.
Guerra's tough call on future
Aidan Guerra has been an integral part of the Knights' rebuild under Nathan Brown but there is no escaping the big career decision he potentially faces at the end of this season.
Guerra still has a further 12 months to run on his contract with the club but if the past few weeks are anything to go by, he may have no choice than to walk away from his final year here if he wants to finish his career overseas.
Largely due to injury, the 31-year-old has played just six NRL games this season but over the past few weeks, it has become pretty clear he is no longer the automatic selection he was in the squad last season where he didn't miss a game. That's unlikely to change in 2020 where the competition for spots in the pack will only intensify with the emergence of several young players.
With the number of NRL games you play over a two year period determining whether you qualify to play in the English Super League, the danger for Guerra is he may miss the boat altogether if he opts to stay for his final year and spends the majority of it in NSW Cup. Guerra knows there will be a decision to be made one way or the other and he told us a few weeks back he and his agent Jim Banaghan are keeping a close eye on all potential options but his main focus was getting back to full fitness and trying to win back his NRL spot.
Whether that happens will likely determine his future.
On board again
When you're running last and coming off a 61-0 hiding, the next step is generally showing the coach the door rather than putting a new contract in front of him.
It says a lot about Central Newcastle's faith in Phil Williams that he re-signed as coach for another year this week. Refreshingly, club officials can see the bigger picture and were willing to look past what happened against leaders Wests last weekend.
"We were actually keen for him to sign for longer but Phil is happy to take it a year at a time," club president Heath Anderson said.
Williams knows there are much better times ahead.
"We are short a few players but we're working on that and it's a real good club with a strong, supportive committee who deserves some success," he said.