Tyson Frizell's signing by the Newcastle Knights for the next three seasons is expected to be officially announced by the club next week before the premiership re-starts after his contract was finally registered by the NRL.
But fans hoping to see the St George Illawarra Test star playing for the Knights any earlier than next season, something that has been widely speculated in recent weeks, are going to be disappointed.
Knights recruitment boss Alex McKinnon, who features in this week's edition of Toohey's News-The Podcast, told us it was no chance of happening with the club's roster full following the signing of Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough.
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A player swap between the two clubs would be the only way it could eventuate now but even then, it's highly unlikely the Knights have enough money left in their cap for this season to facilitate such a move.
While Frizell may have stewed over his decision for four months before making the call to leave the Dragons, it took McCullough little more than a week to decide his future.
McKinnon only made an approach to the Broncos hooker's manager Isaac Moses very recently and things moved rapidly from there when it was clear Brisbane wouldn't stand in his way.
Even though he is only signed with the Knights for the rest of this season, he has the security of knowing he has a clause in his favour for another year at the Broncos in 2021.
"I've obviously been thinking for a while we needed someone else to help fill Jayden Brailey's void but it was only really this week we moved on Andrew," McKinnon said. "It's a credit to the club and to Adam [coach O'Brien] that we are in a position now where people won't hesitate to come here."
That's certainly light years away from the position the Knights used to be in when attracting Test and Origin players from rival clubs to Newcastle was considered a pipedream.
"In the first 10 years of our existence, we'd have been lucky to attract 10 first graders from elsewhere," former Knights chairman Michael Hill told us.
"Now there is an acceptance from players that the Knights is a very attractive club to come to which is fantastic news for the club and the town. The financial stability and management of Wests is a big reason."
Knights utility Connor Watson was strangely off-limits to the media at the club's insistence on Friday following the signing of McCullough, which may well suggest an announcement about him extending his contract at the Knights is not far off. Negotiations have been on-going and there has been no suggestion he is looking to go elsewhere.
Tex on target
Rookie fullback Tex Hoy is firming in the betting to be handed the goal-kicking duties in the absence of Kalyn Ponga when he makes his NRL debut against the Panthers tomorrow week at Campbelltown Stadium.
Hoy and five-eighth Kurt Mann have been dueling for the role for the past few weeks with the club's best kicker, Mason Lino, unable to make the side and another contender, Mitch Barnett, out injured.
Coach Adam O'Brien suggested this week Hoy had his nose in front in the personal battle with Mann. But with a week of training still to go before the game, there is no guarantee that won't change if Mann gets his radar going.
Best the beast
It would be a tough call on centre Enari Tuala but it's hard to see a fully fit Bradman Best being left out of the Knights side for Penrith.
Teammates have been lavish in their praise of Best since training resumed, claiming he has gone to another level since he debuted in the top grade late last year.
"He's a beast - he's setting all sorts of records with his strength and power and he's been great to watch,"one player told us.
Tuala didn't put a foot wrong in the opening two rounds and scored a double against the Wests Tigers but doesn't possess the strike-power that Best provides.
Parso comes off second best with tree
Former Knights premiership-winning prop Matt Parsons is fortunate to be alive after a tree-felling accident earlier this month on his in-laws property near Werris Creek left him with a badly banged up right leg.
Parsons, the 1999 Dally M Prop of the Year, who was part of the Knights' 2001 premiership triumph, suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula when he was struck by the tree after it sprang back on him.
When it was suggested he was lucky he wasn't killed, Parsons said: "I suppose everyone that's in an accident like that could say the same thing couldn't they but that's probably right. I'm certainly lucky I've still got my leg."
His fractures were treated in Tamworth Base Hospital before he was flown by the Westpac rescue helicopter to the John Hunter Hospital In Newcastle to have skin graft surgery on his foot.
He says his chip-n-chase days are over.
"I actually said to the surgeon it's the end of my sports career and my modelling days are over as well," he said. "They took a strip of 22 cms of skin off my stomach to fix up my foot and I reckon I probably had 44 they could have used."
Parsons admits he will be glad to finally get home after his ordeal.
"I've been here in the John Hunter for two weeks and it sounds like I'll be here a bit longer. It's been hard because they haven't been letting any visitors in apart from Trace [his wife]," he said.
It comes as no surprise many of his close-knit former teammates at the Knights including his premiership-winning captain Andrew Johns, have been in touch with him to wish him all the best.
"Yeah, the boys have been really good touching base," he said. "It's one of those things. I've been cutting down trees for 30 years and this happens."
Rodwell a casualty
Despite tough economic times, Frank Barrett and the Triple M Newcastle team will be calling Knights matches again when the season gets back underway following a strong commitment from the station.
But the COVID-19 epidemic has claimed one victim with the team cut from four to three to cut costs. We're told former Knights halfback Matt Rodwell won't be back on air next weekend, leaving Michael Hagan and Marc Glanville as Barrett's side-kicks.
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