Premiership-winner Luke Walsh is at the top of Northern Hawks' recruitment wishlist as a number of high profile local players are rumoured to be ready to quit their current clubs to link with the fledgling Newcastle league newcomers next season.
The player defections all hinge on the Hawks getting the green light from the NSW Rugby League to be included in the first grade competition for 2022.
The Port Stephens-based Hawks fielded sides in the Newcastle second grade, under 19's and open grade this year for the first time with coach Brad Tighe leading the big push for promotion.
While there has been no confirmation from the club, there is no shortage of speculation about potential new signings. Cessnock's representative centre Tyronne Roberts-Davis and experienced Kurri Bulldogs players Tyler Randall and Frank-Paul Nu'uausala are among the players touted.
Former Knights and Penrith Panthers halfback Luke Walsh, who won a local premiership with Tighe at Wests Rosellas two years ago and this year played at Central, is another high profile potential recruit.
Tighe refused to add to any of the recruitment speculation when contacted by the Newcastle Herald but admitted Walsh would be an "amazing" signing if the club wins promotion.
"We don't know if we are up yet so I don't want to put any added pressure on anyone," Tighe said. "All I'll say is there has been some interest from players and that's what we want to do - put some experienced first grade boys around our young kids that we've got coming through the system here.
"My mindset is to create a pipeline of young kids that are coming through the Port Stephens area and the aboriginal community and give them the opportunity to play at the highest level locally.
"To do that initially, they are going to need some help so we are definitely talking to some boys and provided we get accepted, I dare say they will be keen to jump on board.
"I'm not looking to go out and pick up all these stars and buy a comp. All I'm looking to do is to develop our young guys and give them all the help and support we can."
Asked specifically about Walsh, Tighe said: "Me being close to Walshy - he's one of my best mates - I'd love to have him.
"He's obviously one of the best players in the comp so what he would do in terms of development for the young kids we've got would be amazing. But like I said, we don't even know if we are going to be accepted yet."
Tighe said he understands the NSWRL has to go through a due diligence process.
# Meanwhile, Upper Hunter product and former South Newcastle fullback Lachlan Walmsley has been named in Scotland's extended squad for a Test against Jamaica on October 24.
The Bravehearts made the announcement on Tuesday (AEST) and it comes after Walmsley's 2021 performances for Whitehaven, who were eliminated from the English Championship finals on the weekend.
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