Jacob Saifiti's rise to Danny Buderus Medal winner this week is one of the Knights' great redemption stories.
Just under three years ago, Saifiti thought his NRL career at the club was over after he was punched to the ground during an altercation outside a Hamilton pub that left him with a broken leg.
A month after the incident, an emotional Saifiti fronted Knights CEO Phil Gardner and then director of football Brian Canavan, fully expecting to have his contract with the club terminated.
"I walked into Phil and Brian's office that day convinced I would be sacked," Saifiti told us. "Instead, they gave me another chance.
"I told them that day I would repay them. That I wasn't going to let them down again.
"I hope they think I have have done that. They gave me the opportunity to redeem myself so I'm just so thankful Phil and Brian and the board gave me another chance."
Saifiti says he still uses that whole experience as a motivator.
"I'm not going to lie, it was a really hard time but as they say, tough times make tough people so I hang onto it and it drives me every day," he said. "It was the kick up the arse that I needed.
"Before that, I took playing first grade for granted. I was happy to get good money, happy to pull on the jersey and play first grade every week. I was just happy to get paid and be an NRL player.
"But when I nearly lost it all, that's when I just decided that you know what, I'm going to have a red hot crack. I knew that what happened was my doing. I made my bed that night but I've learnt from it and now because of it, I don't take anything for granted anymore.
"In a way, I've become so much stronger from it."
Pearce off in final
Did the constant media speculation around his playing future get to Mitchell Pearce during last Sunday's elimination finals game against Parramatta in Rockhampton?
It may explain why, in the club's most important game of the year, the veteran Knights halfback played like his head was elsewhere.
Pearce's running game is one of his biggest strengths yet it was virtually non-existent against the Eels to the point where he didn't run the ball once in the first half and didn't play the ball at all in the entire 80 minutes. The side's creativity came almost exclusively from Kalyn Ponga and Jake Clifford.
Pearce's in-goal knock-on from an Eels' restart in the second half was another sign of him being distracted.
Both coach Adam O'Brien and recruitment boss Clint Zammit maintain their halfback is going nowhere next season, even if he signs elsewhere for 2023.
Given the club doesn't have a ready-made halfback to replace him, why would they let him walk. But the rumours are likely to continue until Pearce himself comes out and says he is committed to seeing out his contract or, in turn, that he wants out.
Is Mary in mix?
Has former Dragons coach Paul 'Mary' McGregor's decision to accept an assistant coaching role with the NSW Blues this week thrown a spanner in the works for the Knights?
While the appointment of a replacement for departing assistant coach Anthony Seibold is still a little way off, McGregor appeared certain to be on the shortlist of potential contenders.
But can head coach Adam O'Brien afford to have both McGregor and head of football Danny Buderus, who is also tied up with the Blues, away during the Origin period. Time will tell.
Wooley's new gig
Former Knights prop Adam Woolnough has been appointed coach of the Melbourne Storm junior feeder team, the Thunderbolts, who play in the NSWRL Jersey Flegg Under 21's competition.
Fullback Bailey may not be the only Hodgson playing for the Knights next season. Younger brother Jeylan, a tough little hooker, has made the club's Harold Matthews Under 17's summer squad.
Mullo finds his calling
Controversial former Knight Jarrod Mullen says he has found his calling after establishing his own youth work company on the Sunshine Coast.
"I always wanted to get into youth work to help the younger generation get through life making some better decisions than I did," he said. "I started with one young kid and it's grown to 13 who I'm looking after.
"The kids come from good and bad backgrounds and they may suffer from autism or ADHD and their families need some help. I'm just trying to steer them in the right direction. I'm loving it. I've found my calling. It's just great being able to help."
DSaif is Baz's best
Daniel Saifiti may have finished behind brother Jacob in the club's Danny Buderus Medal count but he gets our vote. We've crowned DSaif our inaugural Baz's Best player of the year with Mitch Barnett, Kalyn Ponga, Jayden Brailey, JSaif and Connor Watson all in the top six.
Final standings: 22- Daniel Saifiti 18- Mitch Barnett 17- Kalyn Ponga 16- Jayden Brailey 15- Jacob Saifiti 14- Connor Watson 8- Tyson Frizell, Bradman Best 5- Josh King 4- Mitchell Pearce, Brodie Jones, Jake Clifford, David Klemmer 3- Kurt Mann, Chris Randall 1- Jesse Sue, Phoenix Crossland, Enari Tuala, Jirah Momoisea.
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