Outstanding young Knights halfback prospect Jonah Pezet will quit the club to join Melbourne Storm next season after being guaranteed a release from the final two years of his contract.
The highly-rated Pezet 17, ear-marked as a potential long-term successor to skipper Mitchell Pearce in the Knights No7 jersey, will leave the club little more than a year after his father Troy lost his job as recruitment boss in a staff restructure following Nathan Brown's departure as coach late last season.
While the young playmaker's release will be seen by many as a father's ultimate act of revenge on the club that dumped him, Knights CEO Phil Gardner said he made it clear to Pezet when he was employed by the club that he would never stand in the way if he wanted his son to play elsewhere.
"I always told Troy when he was working here that if he felt conflicted in the role with his son playing for us, I wouldn't stand in his way if he felt it would be better for Jonah to be playing elsewhere," Gardner told the Newcastle Herald.
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"It would be disingenuous of me to go back on that now just because Troy no longer works for us.
"Young Jonah is obviously a fantastic prospect and the family has made a decision which they believe is in his best interests. They want to see him get an opportunity in the Melbourne system and Troy has a strong relationship with their recruitment guy Paul Bunn.
"We're obviously sorry to see him go. We don't like to lose any of our young players that we have developed and want to keep here long-term. But there is nothing to say that at some stage in the future, Jonah might find his way back to us depending on what happens with his career."
Like most in the game, Knights coach Adam O'Brien has a high opinion of last season's NSW Under 16's halfback and is understood to have done his best to talk him into staying given the potential pathway for him at the club.
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