NRLKnights boss says no to backline buying spree despite player shortage
Posted on 12/17/18 5:03 PM
Knights say no to panic spending despite a player shortage Photo: AAP
TweetFacebookKNIGHTS’ head of football Darren Mooney says the club won’t bepanic buying to bolster their outside backs despite the loss of centre Tautau Moga for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Moga is expected to havesurgery in the next three weeks after the swelling goes down to repair the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the fourth time in his career he has been forced to undergo a full knee reconstruction.
The recovery period could be as long as 12 months.
His loss has left the club’s dwindling stock of outside backs at near criticallevelswith coach Nathan Brown forced to shift winger Nathan Ross into the centres to cover for Moga against the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday night.
His only other centre options in NSW Cup currently areyoungsters Cory Denniss and Jacob Gagai, younger brother of Dane.
While the club is putting on a brave face publicly, another injury or two in the backs has the potential to de-rail the Knights season.
They went into the season already short of backs after losing Dane Gagai to South Sydney and allowing Englishman Joe Wardle, Peter Mata’utia and Brendan Elliot to depart.
Chanel Mata’utia also walked out on the final season of his contract a couple of weeks into the pre-season.
Since then, they have lost utility Connor Watson and promising young fullback Nick Meaney to injury while another potential top grade back-up, Dylan Phythian was sacked a few weeks ago after failing his seconddrug test.
Watson could be another seven weeks away from making a return from a shoulder injury while Meaney is likely to be out for another two months after ankle surgery following a round one injury.
The loss of Moga on top of that meansthe club has well over $1 million in back-line talent unavailable on top of the $1 million plus they still have remaining intheir salary cap for this season.
Mooney said the club is actively in the marketplace but won’t be signing players for the sake of it.
“We are getting inquiries all the time about players but they have to be the right players,” he said.
“We are not interested in just signing someone for the rest of this season to make up numbers. We are after players who can playNRL now and if we have to wait a little longer for the right player to potentially become available, we will.”
The Knights have until June 30 to add players to their roster and while there is little movement in the player market at the moment, history suggeststhat will change as the registrationcut off point gets closer.
Brown is confident his new left edge of Ross and Ken Sio will get the job done against the Broncos.