Tevita Pangai Jnr was once right at the very top of the Newcastle Knights' recruitment shopping list - but not any more.
Instead, a red line has been put through his name.
The troubled Brisbane backrower is reportedly on the verge of being sacked by the Broncos following a serious COVID protocol breach despite being in the first year of a three year contract worth close to $700,000 a season.
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has already declared his club is not interested in signing him if he was to become available and Knights coach Adam O'Brien holds the same view.
Asked if the Knights had the salary cap space to potentially make a play for Pangai Jnr, O'Brien told the Newcastle Herald bluntly: "We wouldn't be interested even if we did."
Given his off-field dramas and his judiciary history, the Knights may have dodged a bullet when he rejected offers to link with Newcastle under previous coach Nathan Brown.
Brown had a couple of cracks at enticing Pangai away from the Broncos before he opted to sign a lengthy deal to stay at Red Hill. Pangai's initial rejection and that of another Broncos forward Matt Lodge came in October 2018, just a month prior to the Knights signing former Bulldogs prop David Klemmer on a five year deal.
With Pangai initially only signing for one year to remain in Brisbane, the Knights again went cap in hand in early 2019 and tried to lured him to the club but missed their target again.
The signing of Kangaroos backrower Tyson Frizell from St George Illawarra on a three year deal worth $2.1 million leaves the club well off for backrowers alongside the likes of Sione Mata'utia and Lachlan Fitzgibbon and the versatile Mitch Barnett.
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