Nathan Brown admits Jarryd Hayne scandal could cost the signing of Kurt Mann
Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown says the Jarryd Hayne scandal could cost his club the signing St George Illawarra utility Kurt Mann.
There has been strong speculation the Dragons would release Mann to accommodate Hayne, but on the back of the latest developments, Mann may not be going anywhere.
Hayne – who has played for both Parramatta and the Gold Coast – has been charged with aggravated sexual assault and inflicting actual bodily harm.
He is currently out on bail with his conditions banning him from entering Newcastle as well as forcing the 30-year-old to surrender his passport.
The matter arose after a woman claimed she suffered injuries during a sexual encounter with Hayne on the evening of this year’s Grand Final in the Hunter Valley.
Brown admitted things were looking promising until news of the scandal broke.
“Everyone’s quite aware that we’ve had an interest in Kurt,” Brown said.
“Obviously the Dragons were happy for us to have an interest in Kurt as long as they could replace him.
“If you had have asked this time a week and a half ago, I would have said there would have been a likelihood of it happening pretty quickly.
“But obviously with the Jarryd Hayne situation, the Dragons have got no replacement for Kurt, so they really fancy their chances with the squad they’ve got and they can’t let Kurt go unless they find a replacement.”
The Knights have been the most active club in the recruitment market since Brown took over with Newcastle officials putting their faith in the former NRL star.
Starting from scratch, the club has undergone a massive clean out which has seen a number of players depart.
While Kalyn Ponga, Connor Watson and Mitchell Pearce were just some of the big names to have joined the club last season.
And add the likes of Jesse Ramien and Tim Glasby for 2019 and a formidable force is rising in the Hunter.
The 45-year-old also said he was unsure when the club would be able to complete the signing of David Klemmer.
“At this stage he’s still a Bulldogs player,” Brown said.
“So until I suppose the Bulldogs say he’s free to go, that’s probably anyone’s guess.”
In a season of promise by the men from the Hunter, the Knights finished 2018 in 11th position with nine wins – a significant improvement from three straight wooden spoons in the preceding seasons.
For a proud and passionate club which has bred club legends – Andrew ‘Joey’ Johns, Danny Buderus and the Gidley brothers, they will be hoping 2019 can bring finals footy.
Listen to the full interview below: