The recruitment officer who discovered a 14-year-old Jason Taumalolo and signed him to a four year deal over a late night pizza in Townsville only hours after watching him play for a touring Kiwi school side, has quit the Cowboys to bolster the Knights' recruitment team.
Clint Zammit, who also played an integral role in the Cowboys prising a teenage Kalyn Ponga away from the clutches of the Brisbane Broncos before he moved to the Knights, will join forces with Alex McKinnon at the club next week.
While he will spend plenty of time in Newcastle, Zammit will remain based in Cairns and will give the Knights a genuine footprint in Queensland for the first time.
Both McKinnon and coach Adam O'Brien believe Zammit will be a huge acquisition for the Knights.
"He's a great get for us - we are lucky to have him," McKinnon said. "You only have to look at the young players he has recruited to the Cowboys over the years.
"Taumalolo is one, [Viliame] Kikau was another but there's a whole group of them that he identified at a young age. He'll look after Queensland and New Zealand as well which will allow me to focus on our own catchment areas in and around Newcastle and the Hunter.
"He will also be a bit of a sounding board for me with players and vice versa and we'll be able to compare and bounce things off each other."
O'Brien and Zammit have a history together - they played footy with each other in Cairns, which played a part in the Knights being able to get him out of the Cowboys.
"He's an awesome bloke who knows his stuff so I'm really looking forward to him coming aboard,"O'Brien said.
"Alex is doing a wonderful job - he nailed Tyson Frizell for us and signed Macca [Andrew McCullough] in 24 hours, but the role is huge and I just thought we needed to strengthen that area.
"If you look at Brisbane, they have five in that role and Melbourne has three."
Zammit finished up with the Cowboys yesterday and will start at the Knights on Monday.
"I'll be in Newcastle next week to meet everyone and catch up with Ads and Alex," he said.
"It's going to be a really good challenge and it's something I'm looking forward to."
Watson still a priority
It's not great timing when you suffer a long term injury right smack in the middle of drawn-out contract negotiations.
But anyone thinking Connor Watson's ruptured Achilles tendon may impact the Knights decision to re-sign him are off the mark.
Watson had surgery this week to repair the damage and faces anywhere between 5 to 8 months on the sideline depending on who you talk to and how his rehabilitation goes.
There are those who have been questioning just how well he will come back from such an injury. But Knights coach Adam O'Brien dismissed those concerns and also the speculation the club might be having second thoughts re-signing him.
"He is still a priority, definitely, and hopefully, we'll be able to get it done sooner rather than later," O'Brien told us.
"I'm not too worried about the injury long term. He'll be really looked after during the rehab process and Connor's a young, fit bloke who'll come back really strong for us."
Glasby's career option
Knights prop Tim Glasby will have a profession to fall back on should he be forced out of the game prematurely because of fears over his concussions as expected.
Glasby, who is waiting on the NRL to officially rubber-stamp his application for medical retirement, hasn't been idle while pursuing his rugby league career at Penrith, Melbourne and the Knights.
The 32-year-old is a fully qualified financial planner.
Knights middle forward Herman Ese'ese and centre Tautau Moga are the players under the most pressure to hold their spots in the squad heading into tomorrow's clash with Melbourne on the Sunshine Coast.
While coach Adam O'Brien didn't name names when he publicly put his players on notice during the week following the Bulldogs debacle, Ese'ese and Moga are two players who need to lift their game against the Storm or face the possibility of being axed.
Centre Gehamat Shibasaki is waiting in the wings while rookie forward Jirah Momoisea is getting closer to an NRL debut.
Jot down the name Christian Ma'anaima. He's a big, strong, teenage Kiwi frontrower you are going to hear a lot more about in the future.
Ma'anaima, a 19-year-old who is closing in on 110kgs, has been at the Knights since he was 15 and has just signed a new three year deal with the club. He was chosen to play for NSW Under 18's last season but pulled out because of his allegiance to New Zealand.
Knights development boss Scott Dureau said the club has high hopes for him. "He's someone who has been outstanding with his development. He's potentially going to be a high quality first grader."
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