Knights unlikely to snare star recruit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights unlikely to snare star recruit

By David Beniuk 05/03/2010 06:37:30 PM Comments (0)

NRL crisis club Newcastle will need to content themselves with an "above average tradesman" to replace departed Chris Houston and Danny Wicks, with the salary cap preventing them from chasing the game's superstars.

The Knights have been linked to big names Sonny Bill Williams and club legend Danny Buderus after losing forwards Houston and Wicks, who both terminated their contracts after being charged with alleged drug offences.

The chances of landing Williams were always at long odds with the former Bulldog earning big money in French rugby union and the subject of an offer from New Zealand rugby heading into the 2011 World Cup.

Knights strategic development manager Keith Onslow said the only link to Williams was an enquiry into his status 12 months ago.

"It hasn't even been discussed," he told AAP on Friday.

Williams is also ineligible to play for any club in the NRL but Canterbury until 2013 and CEO Todd Greenberg said that would only be relaxed if the Bulldogs received a hefty compensation payout.

"If he is entertaining an idea of playing for a club or a club is entertaining the idea of contracting him, then I'm happy to have a discussion with that particular club but it will be a discussion on commercial terms," Greenberg told AAP.

Greenberg said he had no specific figure in mind.

"I have absolutely no figure and part of me says it's a moot discussion because I think he'll end up playing rugby in New Zealand and, if he does, good luck to him," he said.

Onslow said Buderus was keen to see out his contract with English Super League club Leeds.

"It would enormous if he were able to take up some sort of administrative position but my understanding from him is he's quite keen to keep playing," he said.

"Whilst he can keep playing and he's got a contract in England then good luck to him."

Reports have suggested Newcastle have between $200,000-$400,000 under the salary cap, another factor making the recruitment of an elite player unlikely.

"Not what you would call a marquee player, no," Onslow said in relation to the Knights' cap pressure.

"There's probably an opportunity for certainly an above average tradesman.

"We've made all the phone calls. We've spoken to CEOs, NRL coaches, recruitment managers, obviously all the player managers, everyone knows our situation.

"There isn't too much more we can do at this stage, we've thrown out all the baits."

Meanwhile, the Knights' round one opponents Canterbury expect the beleaguered club to come out fighting at ANZ Stadium on March 13.

Asked if adversity galvanised a team, Bulldogs halfback Brett Kimmorley said: "I think it does in every footy club.

"I think when there's adversity at your club the best thing for that is going out and playing good football and once the football starts there's things to report on so it's generally the less focus is on off-field issues.

"We're more worried about ourselves, that's what we take into most games, it doesn't who we play or what environment is created."

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