Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Mitchell Pearce’s time at the Newcastle Knights seems all but over as reports emerged earlier this week that the Catalans Dragons have offered the former New South Wales State of Origin representative a three-year deal worth $1.8 million.
However, the Knights would only be willing to release Pearce to Catalans if they were able to secure the services of another half before doing so, and it seems they have a player in their sights.
Luke Brooks seems on the outer at the Wests Tigers after failing to consistently live up to the standards they set for him.
Earlier in the year, the club announced the signing of Jackson Hastings from the Wigan Warriors, who has played in two of the past three Super League Grand Finals and is a former Man of Steel.
This indicates that despite still being contracted to the club until the end of 2023, Brooks may not be in the Tigers’ plans for the future, which is ideal for the Knights who are reportedly interested in signing him, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Knights eye Brooks to replace Pearce, Manly’s move to stop Dolphins’ play for DCE: Transfer Whispers 🧐🔁💸❓
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) October 23, 2021
A corresponding article from Fox Sports has revealed that Pearce will be requesting his release from the Knights very soon, which means the club will want to get their move for Brooks over the line quickly.
“Brooks shares the same management as Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien and is on similar money to the amount that would be made available by Pearce’s departure,” stated the report.
“Pearce is set to request a formal release over the weekend to take up a $1.8 million deal with the Dragons with the Knights reportedly leaning towards granting Pearce a release.”
As Brooks is still contracted to the Tigers until the end of 2023, the club likely will have to pay a percentage of his $850,000 a year contract until the end of the 2023 NRL season.
If this deal goes through then Brooks will have the freedom to focus on his running game in the halves, one area of his skill set that did improve immensely in 2021, as Jake Clifford can take on more of a game controlling role and be the club’s primary kicker.