The playing future of Mitchell Pearce will be the elephant in the room for the Knights when pre-season training kicks off in just over a month.
If the controversy surrounding Pearce's cancelled wedding was an off-season distraction heading into 2022, the uncertainty over where his future lies has the potential to be an even bigger headache for the club and drag on well into next year.
The veteran halfback has a year to run on his current contract but there has already been a heap of speculation around whether he will see out the deal if he signs elsewhere for 2023.
Even if he arrives for day one of pre-season training telling everyone he is totally committed to the Knights for 2022, it won't completely douse the flames around a possible departure if an offer materialises elsewhere.
Coach Adam O'Brien already has plenty on his plate heading into his third season at the helm.
While player gains and losses have been limited to a few either way and his assistant coaches are still all in place apart from Anthony Seibold, there have been massive changes to the rest of his football department staff with completely new-look and beefed-up high performance and medical teams coming in. Presumably, they will have new ideas and methods.
No doubt, O'Brien has been hard at work already, studying videos and making plans around what the evolution of his side's attack, which was vilified by every man and his dog last season for it's predictability and staleness, will look like. Pearce will obviously be central to that.
At the same time, you can bet the coach's steely emphasis on defence won't change and he'll be looking at ways to build on the gains made over the past year in his side's defensive resilience.
But how O'Brien handles the theatre and media hype around Pearce, who can rate a mention in the paper these days for simply saying hello to a rival assistant coach, will be a test of his leadership.
The simple fix of course would be to re-sign the veteran halfback for another year. But while no-one in the Knights camp is saying as much, there is a belief in general the club needs to make player roster plans for 2023 without him.
Hall of Fame returns
Remember the Knights' Hall of Fame?
It was established back in 2012 when Nathan Tinkler owned the club to honour the Knights most outstanding achievers.
The five inaugural inductees were Paul Harragon, Andrew Johns, Michael Hagan, Matt Gidley and the club's founding coach, the late Allan McMahon. In 2014, Danny Buderus, Mark Sargent and Tony Butterfield joined them in the exclusive club.
The idea back then was to add to the list every couple of years. But presumably due to the ownership changes, the Hall of Fame has been on the back-burner for the past seven years.
The good news is the Knights' Old Boys and owners Wests Group agree it needs to be back on the agenda for 2022. Expect an announcement about the Hall of Fame well before a ball is kicked next season.
Tex's waiting game
Utility Tex Hoy continues to play a waiting game over his future at the Knights and is no certainty at this stage to be retained. But his manager remains hopeful a deal will be struck for a further season.
"The club has told me they would like to keep Tex but they have to juggle a few things around to make it happen," his agent Steve Gillis told us. "Tex wants to stay as well so I haven't really pushed it with anyone else.
"In saying that, we are probably going to need to know one way or the other within the next two or three weeks what is happening given the start of pre-season training is not that far away."
While Hoy is still in limbo, we're expecting the Knights will likely strike a deal with un-signed backrower Jack Johns for a further season.
Knights in focus
Fans of the Knights should not miss the Newcastle Herald next week as we look back in depth over three days on the positives and negatives of the club's 2021 premiership campaign and also predict what we can expect from the side in 2022.
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