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TOOHEY'S NEWS: Knights consider plan to inflict more Wayne pain

By Barry Toohey
Target: Canberra Raiders and former Bulldogs backrower Adam Elliott has been targeted by the Knights following the departure of Mitch Barnett to the Warriors next season. Picture: AAP

They have already trumped Wayne Bennett once by re-signing Kalyn Ponga.

Now it's emerged the Knights are considering an audacious move that would double the Supercoach's pain by enticing Anthony Milford to turn his back on Bennett and extend his short-term deal with the club beyond the end of this season.

It's been widely reported the former Broncos playmaker, who will debut for the Knights against his old club in a fortnight, is heading to Bennett's Dolphins in 2023.

But Bennett admits Milford is yet to formally sign a Dolphins' contract and with a dearth of halves on the market and the Knights desperate to add some star-power in that position, it won't surprise if the club does whatever it can to try and persuade him to stay longer term.

Much will hinge on his impact and the part he plays in trying to turn the Knights season around when he finally gets on the field. In the Knights' favour is Milford won't face the sort of intense media scrutiny he has been subjected to in Brisbane if he opts to stay in Newcastle.

Elliott on radar

Canberra forward Adam Elliott is in the Knights' sights with a potential deal that could also land the club his girlfriend, Brisbane Broncos NRLW star Millie Boyle.

While the Raiders want to re-sign the former Bulldogs forward, we're told Elliott is keen on the prospect of a move to Newcastle. If he opts to leave Canberra, the Knights could even pick him up for the rest of this season.

There has been no talks yet on a deal involving Boyle but if the Knights sign Elliott, the club will no doubt make a big play for Boyle as well.

Pryce is right

The Knights are in the box-seat and closing in on a deal to bring Huddersfield's outstanding teenage English five-eighth Will Pryce to the club for the 2023-24 seasons.

Wigan backrower Kai Pearce-Paul is believed to be leaning towards either the Knights or the Dolphins as he ponders a decision on his future with as many as five NRL clubs chasing him.

Cut-price halves

The Knights will take the field tonight against the Cowboys in Townsville with arguable the cheapest halves pairing in NRL history.

While the majority of NRL clubs have either a halfback or five-eighth on $800,000-plus-a-season contracts, Phoenix Crossland and Tex Hoy are earning less than $200,000 combined this year. Hoy is only on a development deal.

Ex-Knight in hospital

Our thoughts go out to former Newcastle Knight Darren Leaney, who is laid up in a Sydney hospital after suffering a big heart attack.

Leaney's daughter Kaitlan made her Wallaroos rugby Test debut against Fiji at Suncorp Stadium last night.

Jack's fitting farewell

It will no doubt be a wonderful send-off for a man who was so influential in the lives of so many people when Jack Newton's remarkable life is celebrated at the Civic Theatre in Newcastle on Wednesday.

The Newton's sent out as many as 800 invitations to the midday memorial but any member of the public wanting to pay their respects to the golf legend, who became a champion for charitable causes, will also be able to attend. There will be a huge sporting presence at his farewell.

Jack's great mate and Brisbane television's face of sport Pat Welsh will MC with Knights premiership-winning coach Michael Hagan among the speakers. Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus will fly in from the Knights' Sunshine Coast base to attend.

Gal's hostile reception

He's up against a Victorian but rest assured Paul Gallen will cop a hostile Newcastle reception when he fights at the Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night.

Not that he will care, Gallen can expect to be boo'd into the ring when he takes on Kris Terzievski for the Australian heavyweight title.

Nikita Tszyu and Harry Garside also headline an outstanding No Limit Boxing promotion on the night.

Hagan's mentor role

It has been kept under the radar until now but we can reveal former Knights coach Michael Hagan has had a small role to play in the resurgence of the Cowboys this season.

Hagan has been quietly assisting Cowboys coach Todd Payten since November, largely by correspondence, in a coach mentoring role. They have known each other for more than 20 years with Hagan coaching Payten in reserve grade at Canberra in 1999.

Hagan, who won an NRL premiership with the Knights two seasons later, confirmed his involvement after being spotted in the Cowboys' coaching box a few weeks ago.

Klem closes in

Knights prop David Klemmer and fullback Kalyn Ponga have moved to within a point of leader Tyson Frizell after picking up major points in the side's 50-2 spanking by the Melbourne Storm last Sunday.

Klemmer ran for 131 metres with five off-loads and made 39 tackles with just one miss in the heavy defeat while Ponga's effort could not be faulted.

Rd 8: Knights v Storm

3 David Klemmer 2 Kalyn Ponga 1 Enari Tuala

Progress points: 6 Tyson Frizell. 5 David Klemmer, Chris Randall, Kurt Mann, Kalyn Ponga. 4 Dane Gagai, Jake Clifford. 3 Dom Young. 2 Tex Hoy. 1 Bradman Best, Mitch Barnett, Enari Tuala.

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