Knights join queue of clubs chasing Hayne

11-07-2018 by admin

THEY might be at a low ebb but that hasn’t stopped Knights officials from thinking big.
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A day after Newcastle’s club-record 62-0 pounding from Cronulla at Hunter Stadium –which left them as $1.40 favourites for their second consecutive wooden spoon –chief executive Matt Gidley confirmed they would be interested in making a play for code-switching superstar Jarryd Hayne.

Hayne made the surprise announcement on Monday that he was quitting the San Francisco 49ers and retiring from NFL.

MULTI-TALENTED: Jarryd Hayne

The former Parramatta, NSW and Kangaroos fullback now plans to represent Fiji at the Rio Olympics in rugby union Sevens.

If Hayne is successful in becoming an Olympian, that would tie him up until late August.

In the meantime, he will no doubt attract lucrative offers from a host of rugby league clubs eager to sign him for the 2017 season.

The Roosters have long been regarded as the frontrunners if and whenthe 28-year-old decides to make an NRL comeback.

And while Gidley joked that the Knights might need Newcastle City Council to offer Hayne Nobbys Beach as a third-party sponsorship, he said there was no harm in expressing interest.

“We’ll definitely meet with his management and have a discussion,’’ Gidley said.

Newcastle’s salary cap is understood to be tight for next season but Gidley said “things can change quickly”, pointing to the Roosters’ decision to release Test centre Michael Jennings to Parramatta late in the pre-season.Funds could become available if senior back-rowers Tariq Sims and Robbie Rochow accept offers from rivalclubs.

There was speculation on Monday linkingRochow to Cronulla and Sims to Manly.

The Knights also have the option of moving on players who are under contract for next season and beyond, as they did at the end of last year with Chris Houston (Widnes), Tyrone Roberts (Gold Coast) and Adam Clydsdale (Canberra).

“We can and will look at bringing in a marquee player, if we feel that’s going to help our squad,’’ Gidley said.

“All clubs are looking to manage their rosters and we’re no different.

“At the end of the day, it’s the same for all our players. You’ve got to perform, whether you’re under contract or not.’’

Hayne’s agent, Wayne Beavis, says his star client has not considered his post-Olympic plans,or even what he will do if he doesn’t secure a Games berth.

“We haven’t had a chance to talk about Plan B,’’Beavis said in a radio interview with Triple M.

“I’m sure there will be no lack of opportunities for him should be come back to Australia and want to play rugby league again or rugby union.’’

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