NEWCASTLE Knights officials say there is no rush to find an assistant coach to add to Adam O'Brien's staff.
The departure of Willie Peters to Super League club Hull Kingston Rovers has left a vacancy on O'Brien's support crew, and club management have identified the need for a seasoned replacement.
In O'Brien's first two years at Newcastle's helm, he had former NRL head coaches assisting him in David Furner and Anthony Seibold respectively.
The Knights qualified for the finals in both of those seasons.
This year O'Brien's deputies included Peters, Rory Kostjasyn, Blake Green and Eric Smith, as well as club legend Andrew Johns in a consultancy role.
Newcastle won only six games to finish a disappointing 14th, leaving O'Brien under intense pressure to deliver improved results in early 2023.
The best way to alleviate that pressure, the Knights believe, is to appoint an ally for O'Brien who has been there, done that, at NRL level over a number of years.
"Our preference would be an experienced assistant coach. Somebody who has been a coach for an extended period of time," Knights director of football Peter Parr told the Newcastle Herald.
"They don't necessarily have to have been a head coach, but certainly we believe someone with experience would be beneficial.
"We've got a good group of young coaches in Rory Kostjasyn, Blake Green and Eric Smith, so we think a bit of experience around them would be good for them and Adam.
"Whether we can find that person, I guess that remains to seen."
The Knights are set to resume training in early November but Parr said they would not be hasty in sifting through the options.
"We've had some good interest in the position left vacant by Willie," Parr said.
"I have no time frame on that, because it's a crucial appointment and the priority is to find the best available candidate, rather than rushing through a process."
Newcastle have added former halfback Michael Dobson to their coaching ranks, and while it was initially expected he would assist O'Brien, he has since been designated the pathways-manager position vacated mid-season by Garth Brennan.
The other key appointment over the off-season will be a new high-performance manager, after the controversial departure of Hayden Knowles last month.
Knowles, who joined Newcastle after overseeing Penrith's premiership-winning 2021 campaign, paid the ultimate price for his much-publicised run-in with fiery prop David Klemmer.
"We've advertised Hayden's position," Parr said. "That will remain open until the end of this week.
"We already have some strong applicants there and my expectation is that we'll have some quality people to choose from."
Parr said the Knights were hoping both appointments would provide some much-needed "stability" for the club.
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