Adam O'Brien calls him a spark-plug player. Someone who can be thrown into a game off the bench at any time in any position to ignite something.
And the Knights coach has already seen enough of Connor Watson during the pre-season to want to have him around the club longer than just the end of this season.
Which is why the Knights have kicked off negotiations to re-sign the utility star. It's early days and a new deal is unlikely before next month's premiership kick-off.
But along with nailing down Kalyn Ponga to an extended deal and securing a world class backrower for 2021, keeping Watson is now up there as one of the club's recruitment priorities.
"I'd like Connor to stay, yeah," O'Brien told us this week.
"That [number] 14 role is now a legitimate position in your team. I call them spark-plug players. [Victor] Radley for the Roosters, Kalyn did it in Origin, Michael Morgan's done it.
"Connor is also someone you want to have around the group. Does everything at 100kms an hour, competes at absolutely everything which I love. And his leadership and example is spot on. He's an important player for us."
It has also been acknowledged privately among club officials that tying up Watson to a longer term deal may also strengthen their chances of securing Ponga's re-signing as well given their tight relationship. A win-win.
In a strategic move, the Knights look set to kick off the season well under the salary cap, virtually conceding there is unlikely to be any further significant recruiting done for this year unless a big name backrower was to suddenly come on the market.
Money is being kept to immediately upgrade Ponga if he opts to extend but the bulk won't be frittered away on the three positions in the top 30 that remain to be filled.
It's understood O'Brien and head of recruitment Alex McKinnon are now targeting 2021 for the signing of a star backrower.
We keep hearing Melbourne's Test right edge forward Felise Kaufusi's name in descussions. Kaufusi has a two year option in his favour for 2021 and 22 at Storm and has to make a call by April 30.
Boom young Knights centre Bradman Best may already be signed with the Knights until the end of 2022 but don't be surprised if his contract is upgraded at some stage this year to better reflect his ability if he develops as fast as most think.
And Best will have Jesse Ramien to thank if it happens.
The Knights picked up Ramien for a song prior to him bursting on the scene at Cronulla in 2018 but allowed the chat behind the scenes from his close advisors that he was being undervalued by the Knights and should be looking elsewhere to fester without acting on it until it was beyond repair.
One club official told us this week the same mistake won't be made again, using Best as the example.
Is it any wonder the Knights did not see the best of Kurt Mann last season and so many fans currently have grave doubts about his ability to establish himself at five-eighth this season.
Apart from requiring needles to get on the field most weeks because of a cracked sternum, Mann played in six different positions in his 19 games without being allowed to settle into any of them.
He started seven games off the bench, five at five-eighth, three at fullback, two on the wing and one each at halfback and centre.
Kurt Gidley's brief comeback at 37 for the Knights in the Nines next weekend is not a case of him getting itchy feet and never coming to terms with retirement.
Gidley, who will train with the Nines squad for the first time this morning, said the only part he really misses about not playing any longer is the loss of the bond you share with teammates.
"I remember one Anzac day game a year or two ago when the national anthem was playing and I was thinking of those moments when you have the real emotional connection with your teammates," he said. "It's pretty hard to get that elsewhere in life after footy."
Big-names head to coaching school
Mitchell Pearce is not sure whether he is cut out to be a coach once his playing career comes to an end.
But it won't stop the Knights skipper sitting a level one coaching course just in case.
Pearce and Knights teammates David Klemmer and Tim Glasby have all enrolled to do a coaching course this season. Klemmer wants to learn the fundamentals so he can officially coach his boys.
"I wanted to do a course and do a bit of study which I probably haven't done much of in my life,"Pearce said.
"Assistant coaching is something I might look at after footy but even if I don't decide to go down that path, at least I'll have the basics down pat just in case."
Meanwhile, Pearce and Knights teammate Hymel Hunt caught up with former Melbourne Storm and current Auckland Blues Super Rugby outside back Matt Duffie in Newcastle yesterday.
The Blues, who are in town to take on the NSW Waratahs tonight, have an affiliation with the Knights. Both are sponsored by nib.
It's a long way from coaching the Kurri Bulldogs in the Newcastle RL to landing a job as an assistant coach with the Wests Tigers under Michael Maguire. But that is the giant leap Ron Griffiths has taken this season with the hours he spent on the road last year to help out at the Tigers in a voluntary capacity paying off.
Along with the coaching role, Griffiths will assist with the club's Indigenous and community programs. The Tigers made his appointment official this week.
Macquarie Scorpions haven't flashed the cash around like a few other clubs in the Newcastle competition but there's talk they have signed a Fijian winger who comes to town with big wraps. Insiders at the Scorps are already claiming Rob Buaserau will be their version of Eels' tearaway Maika Sivo.
Cessnock is the place to be on Saturday [today] if you are chasing a local footy fix. The Goeys will host three NSW Challenge Cup games with Wyong taking on Asquith at 2pm followed by Wests Rosellas up against Ryde Eastwood at 4pm before Cessnock meet North Tamworth at 6 pm.
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