KNIGHTS hooker Danny Levi will have an 11th-hour chance to advertise his wares to potential suitors when he represents Samoa at this week's World Nines.
Levi is contracted to Newcastle for next season and now appears likely to honour that deal, an outcome that would seem less than ideal for both parties.
Newcastle announced in August that they had signed Cronulla dummy-half Jayden Brailey for the next three years, a recruitment decision based on the assumption that Levi could be encouraged to move on.
But despite being linked to Canterbury, Wests Tigers, Gold Coast and Parramatta, the New Zealand international has been unable to secure a new club.
His manager, Mario Tartak, told the Newcastle Herald last week that talks with Parramatta had broken down and "there is nothing really in the pipeline right now for him".
That means the 23-year-old, who has played in 83 NRL games and four Tests for the Kiwis, is expected to report for duty when the Knights kick off their pre-season training for 2020 early next month.
Newcastle's director of football, Brian Canavan, told the Herald: "He's on contract and, if nothing else happens, that'll be the case.
"But he's got to weigh things up. We're bringing in Jayden Brailey, of course.
"It's one of those things that's a work in progress for both parties. But he's a fine kid, Danny. He's no problem in the joint."
Brailey and Levi could potentially tag-team as hooker, but the dilemma for incoming Knights coach Adam O'Brien then would be how to make the most of utilities Connor Watson and Kurt Mann.
Watson excelled late last season when he switched to dummy-half and appeared to have finally found a position he could settle in. Mann was signed by former Knights coach Nathan Brown to play hooker but scarcely received a chance in that role.
The bottom line is that it is hard to imagine Brailey, Levi, Watson and Mann being named in the same 17-man squad, and all four of them are too good to be playing regular reserve grade.
For his part, Levi has learned to ignore the uncertainty surrounding his future, which first surfaced 18 months ago when he asked Brown for a release, after being displaced by former Melbourne hooker Slade Griffin.
As he told the Herald in July: "As long as I'm still contracted here, I'm really loyal to the Knights. I love this group of boys, I love the club and the town. Obviously I'd love to stay but I can't control what happens in the future ... as long as I'm here, I'm doing my best for this club."
Levi has been named in a Samoa squad that includes a host of power-packed ball runners, such as Joseph Leilua (Canberra), Jorge Taufua (Manly) and Michael Chee Kam (West Tigers).
Their three pool games are against Fiji, Cook Islands and the Tonga Invitational side.
Samoa are $12 fourth favourites to win the Nines, which will be held at Bankwest Stadium on Friday and Saturday.