With Connor Watson joining the club to play five-eighth, and Kalyn Ponga arriving as fullback, the Knights are reportedly turning their attention towards the hooking position for 2018.
According to Newcastle Sunday, via Nothing But Knights, Panthers hooker Mitch Rein and Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa are the two most likely candidates to join the Knights spine in 2018.
Rein has had limited opportunities in first grade since joining the Panthers from the Dragons this year, but made the most of his opportunities; with the Panthers winning 4 of the 5 matches he’s started. Releasing Rein early seems an odd choice for Penrith, given the age of starting hooker Peter Wallace (31), but the Panthers have been known to release useful players to opposition clubs in order to give them better career opportunities (Apisai Korisau springs immediately to mind).
Lichaa however is off contract at season’s end, and isn’t expected to be re-signed by the Bulldogs. There hasn’t been much talk about Lichaa since he was reportedly offered to (and rejected by) the Eels last month.
The Knights have a clear need at hooker, the cap space to buy one, and room in the top squad, with the retirement today of hooker Rory Kostjasyn.
Whether that spot ends up being filled by either Rein or Lichaa remains to be seen, but it’s expected that the Knights still have a few more moves to make yet.