It sounds as though this Sunday’s wooden spoon showdown between the Knights and Tigers could be just the entree in a feast of competition between the two rebuilding clubs this week.
According to yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, the main course is likely to be Roosters utility Connor Watson, who’s set to profit from a tug-of-war between the two sides for his services.
The appeal of Watson to clubs in a rebuild is obvious: he’s young (he only just turned 21 last month), superbly talented, and capable of playing in either the halves or at fullback. He’s precisely the kind of player you can build a club around.
Which is what it looked like the Knights were doing, with Watson having met with coach Nathan Brown, and looming as a five-eighth to add to a rejuvenated spine that will feature Cowboys prodigy Kalyn Ponga at fullback. Enter the Tigers.
According to the report, the Tigers have now swept in with a monster $600,000 offer to Watson, in an attempt to gazump the Knights.
The Tigers reportedly view Watson as their fullback of the future (something that will no doubt come as news to Tui Lolohea, who joined the club last month under the impression that he was their next fullback, once Josh Reynolds arrives to take over at 6).
You’d expect that with more money (and, let’s be honest, more need) than the Tigers, the Knights should still be capable of bringing Watson in if they want him bad enough.
But regardless, this should create an interesting subtext when the two sides clash on the field this weekend.