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Jimmy Brings column, Newcastle Knights replacing Adam O’Brien with Des Hasler, Scott Fulton, Benji Marshall can’t coach, latest news

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THE Newcastle Knights made a discreet approach to two-time premiership-winning coach Des Hasler prior to the Gold Coast Titans landing one of the most important signatures in the history of the club.

The development comes amid continued speculation about Knights coach Adam O’Brien who in fairness has done a decent job trying to steer the Newcastle ship despite persistent noise about powerbrokers at the club canvassing alternative coaching options.

Prior to Hasler agreeing to a three-year contract with the Gold Coast last month, a third-party who is great mates with Knights boss Phil Gardener picked up the phone and made the inquiry with Des.

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“What’s your role?” Tim probed on Benji | 03:33

Jeff McCloy is a heavy-hitter in Newcastle who is also very tight with Gardener. McCloy made contact with Hasler to ask if he would consider coaching the Knights prior to the Titans making a clandestine play to land Des’ signature.

The Titans ultimately got the coach they wanted while O’Brien has continued to do a decent job trying to win games.

O’Brien is in his fourth season at the helm of the Knights with the club finishing 7th, 7th, 14th and currently sitting 10th with seven wins, a draw and nine losses this season.

Again in fairness the Knights have been competitive against premiers Penrith and the ladder-leading Broncos this season and remain an outside chance of going on a run and making the finals.

But the question remains, are the results good enough given it’s a roster containing representative players Kalyn Ponga, Daniel Saifiti, Jacob Saifiti, Tyson Frizell, Bradman Best, Dane Gagai and Dominic Young?

The Knights will do their best to try and hose all of this given they’ve still got seven games remaining against Melbourne, Canberra, the Dolphins, Bulldogs, South Sydney, Cronulla and St George Illawarra.

In reality they’ve only managed to win two out of eight games against the current top eight teams this season and the decision-makers at the club are clearly looking at alternative coaching options.

It hasn’t stopped the Knights ramping up their recruitment pitch to try and lure Panthers half Jack Cogger to Newcastle for next season.

Cogger, 25, has toured the Knights facilities with the club prepared to offer the half a two or three year contract.

Cogger played 20 NRL games for the Knights back in 2016 before signing with the Bulldogs and then heading to the UK Super League to play for Huddersfield.

The Panthers have also tabled Cogger an offer to remain at the foot of the mountains.

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SEA EAGLES’ SPIN AMID MORE MOSES LINKS

THE MANLY Sea Eagles going into damage control about the influence of controversial player agent Isaac Moses has hit another snag with the northern beaches club making a play to try and bring Blake Green in to replace Shane Flanagan.

Surprise, surprise Green – who is one of rugby league’s genuinely good people – is managed by guess who? Yep, Isaac Moses.

Green is one of a number of candidates coach Anthony Seibold is considering to replace St George Illawarra-bound Shane Flanagan – also managed by Moses.

The only hurdle for Green is he’s currently working at the Newcastle Knights on the coaching staff under Adam O’Brien – also managed by Moses.

Fair dinkum, it’s a Moses-a-thon.

Oh yeah and of course, Seibold is also managed by Moses.

For the record, when Seibold started at the Sea Eagles, Manly had one Moses client in Ethan Bullemor.

Next year in the Manly top 30 they will have seven.

Manly fires back at Moses accusations | 04:38

COMMENTS THAT FANNED FLAMES OF TIGERS FEUD

THE toxic blue in Tiger Town between assistant coach Benji Marshall and head of recruitment Scott Fulton has been brewing for the last month.

From an outside point of view, we’re not sure you can repair the trust there given some of the things that have been said and tipped out on the table.

Sure there’s disagreements over players and robust conversations in football clubs but the detail about Marshall allegedly having a share in his agent Matt Desira’s management company was a brutal blow.

The same goes for some of the things Fulton has said behind the scenes about Marshall’s coaching ability which have been relayed back to the Wests Tigers assistant coach.

Fulton is a straight-shooter who doesn’t mince words and will be direct in his appraisal of coaches and players.

At least the Wests Tigers had a win of sorts on Thursday by landing the signatures of the Fainu brothers Latu and Samuela for 2024.

The four-year deals for both brothers have raised plenty of eyebrows given Latu is yet to play an NRL game and Samuela has played five NRL matches.

Cooooee, has anyone seen CEO Justin Pascoe.

Credit where it’s due at least chairman Lee Hagipantelis fronts up and answers the tough questions.

Pascoe hasn’t been sighted off Nobby’s beach since the infamous pre-game tracksuit shots in Brisbane before he was spotted scrolling on his mobile phone in the Tigers dressing rooms while Tim Sheens delivered his halftime speech.

Surely if you’re the alleged CEO of the organisation you’ve got to get Marshall and Fulton in a room and thrash out whatever differences need to be solved.

Even better, maybe take them for a beer.

Instead we duck, dive and dither while the Tigers continue to be ridiculed as the biggest laughing stock in the NRL.

Given recent events, it’s very hard to argue.

Chairman addresses Tigers controversy | 12:29

TIGERS LEGEND GONE AFTER CHAIR’S DUMMY SPIT

WE were surprised to hear Wests Tigers club legend Chris Lawrence has walked away from the Concord outfit.

Lawrence is one of the best ambassadors the Tigers could ever dream of having who played 253 games for the club after coming through as a teenage superstar out of the local junior system in Campbelltown.

A club captain at one point in his career, Lawrence loved the Wests Tigers so much he even returned to playing after suffering facial fractures that were likened to a car crash.

Despite metal plates and facial reconstructive surgery, Lawrence put the team and the club first and returned to the playing field.

Unfortunately – for now at least – Lawrence is no longer part of the club after a dummy spit from chairman Lee Hagipantelis.

When the Wests Tigers were being flogged 74-0 by North Queensland a few weeks back, Lawrence sent Hagipantelis a text message along the lines of “you can’t be happy with this?”.

The Wests Tigers chairman took umbrage to the text and Lawrence has since walked away from the club.

In a nutshell, it says a lot about why the Tigers are where they are.

How can you treat a club icon and thoroughly decent bloke like that?

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CREDIT TO KEVVY LEARNING PAINFUL LESSONS

YOU’VE got to hand it to Broncos coach Kevin Walters and the way he’s taken the hard lessons from the back end of last season to get Brisbane primed for a genuine tilt at the club’s first title since 2006.

The Broncos showdown with a full-strength South Sydney on the Sunshine Coast on Friday shapes as a prelude of what’s to come in September.

The Walters play to go sign Adam Reynolds on a three-year contract from the Bunnies when Souths were only prepared to offer one-year deals has proven a masterstroke.

If Kevvie and Reynolds can steer the Broncos into a grand final then it will rank among the club’s best-ever signings.

The champion no.7 has completely transformed the Broncos as a side to the point where there are very few weak links in the Brisbane line-up.

The return of Reece Walsh up against South Sydney superstar Latrell Mitchell is as good a match up as we’ll see with the Broncos fullback guaranteed to have point to prove after the public barbecuing he copped over his three-game suspension.

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