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TOOHEY'S NEWS: Knights trainer's future under a cloud

THE future of high profile Knights high-performance boss Hayden Knowles at the club is under a cloud following the fallout from the club's handling of the David Klemmer controversy.

There are serious question marks around whether Knowles' position remains tenable going forward with sources suggesting he has lost the support of the playing group and key staff following his much-publicised blow up with Klemmer during the Bulldogs game a fortnight ago.

Klemmer was stood down for last Sunday's clash against Wests Tigers and also handed a suspended fine for initially refusing to leave the field for an interchange and for abusing Knowles.

Hayden Knowles

The blow-up escalated and became public knowledge when a complaint was taken to the Knights' heirachy, by-passing both coach Adam O'Brien and football general manager Danny Buderus.

The club was widely panned for its handling of the matter, with most of the criticism centred around why it was made public and not kept in-house. New Knights boss Peter Parr has since changed the processes around how similar incidents will now be handled.

Ironically, Klemmer has come out of it with his reputation enhanced. Most Knights fans lauded his actions for not wanting to come off as those of a passionate player who cares about the football team.

In contrast, Knowles has copped plenty of barbs, particularly on social media where he has strangely gone toe-to-toe with Knights fans over the past week.

He's labeled some fans as "keyboard cowards" who "know nothing" about what is going on at the club. Some supporters have called for action to be taken against him.

Knowles is also in the firing line following a confrontation at Campbelltown last Sunday with a journalist and for conducting a media interview on game day that came after Parr declared late last week the matter was closed and the club had moved on.

During the Channel Nine interview, Knowles said: "It wouldn't matter who it is. If someone puts themselves before the team, I would forever die by the fact that I won't tolerate that behaviour. The behaviour is what I was against, not the person."

Role reversal

Director of football Peter Parr, who won two local premierships with Souths Lions as a player back in the '80s, knows how important pathways and junior development are to the future success of the club. So much so, he has already instigated a key staffing change.

Ex-Knights halfback Michael Dobson was all set to link with the club in a joint role as head of pathways and NSW Cup coach and transition coach next season.

Peter Parr

But Parr told the Toohey's News podcast this week the head of pathways will be a standalone job, overseeing the development of juniors and re-establishing a strong relationship between the Knights and the local league.

It's not clear who will coach the Cup side in 2023 but it's now likely Adam O'Brien will appoint a senior assistant to replace the departing Willie Peters.

Saulo dilemma

The recent form of prop Pasami Saulo has surely not gone unnoticed by Knights officials. Only a month ago, the club appeared content to let the off-contract 24-year-old go with his management shopping him around to rivals.

But why allow another club to benefit from his six or seven years of development at the Knights?

Saulo offers something that teammates David Klemmer and Daniel and Jacob Saifiti don't - good leg speed.

'Maps' rewarded

Fresh from being the final player promoted into the Knights' Top 30 squad before the August 1 cut-off, it won't come as a surprise if highly regarded teenage centre Krystian Mapapalangi makes his NRL debut before the curtain comes down on the season in three weeks' time.


Knights recruitment boss Clint Zammit in deep conversation with injured Tigers halfback Luke Brooks at Campbelltown last Sunday.

Hall of Fame resurrected

After being in limbo for the past eight years, the Knights' Hall of Fame concept has been resurrected with a gala dinner to be held early next month to honour three new inductees to the exclusive club.

They will join inaugural Hall of Fame members Paul Harragon, Andrew Johns, Michael Hagan, Matt Gidley and Allan McMahon, who were inducted in 2012, and 2014 inductees Danny Buderus, Mark Sargent and Tony Butterfield.

Six new life members, all players, will also be recognised at the dinner on Saturday, September 3 at NEX Club. Tickets to the star-studded event are available from the Knights.

Baz's best

If he has played his last game for the Knights before joining the Warriors next season, Mitch Barnett has gone out with a bang. Barnett, who had thumb surgery this week, was outstanding in his side's vital win over the Wests Tigers.

Rd 21: Knights v Tigers

3 Mitch Barnett 2 Jacob Saifiti 1 Dane Gagai

Progress points: 21 David Klemmer 14 Dom Young 10 Kalyn Ponga, Mitch Barnett 7 Tyson Frizell, Kurt Mann, Anthony Milford, Edrick Lee 5 Chris Randall, Dane Gagai 4 Jake Clifford, Enari Tuala 2 Jayden Brailey, Tex Hoy, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Simi Sasagi, Jacob Saifiti 1 Bradman Best, Phoenix Crossland.

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