NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Connor Watson of the Knights passes the ball during the round 12 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on May 27, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Knights coach Nathan Brown has shot down reports that the the club is looking to move five-eighth Connor Watson on.

Watson’s playing future was a hot topic amongst NRL circles last week, with whispers emerging that he was being shopped around to rival clubs.

The rumours grew so intense that Knights co-captain Mitchell Pearce reportedly made Brown aware of them, who then sat down with Watson to dispel the speculation.

“Who knows where these things start but it couldn’t be further from the truth and I assured Conner that was the case,” Brown told The Herald.

“Because of injury, he and Mitchell have only played three full games together in the halves this season and we have won all three. We want to give them a chance to develop that combination further.”

While Newcastle have had their hand forced to unload several key players due to their salary cap clog, Brown is adamant he won’t release players who have been signed during his tenure.

“I’ve only done it twice in my coaching career back in 2007 at the Dragons and never done it since,” he said.

“I believe there is a credibility factor there as a coach in making sure you get your recruitment decisions right and then standing by them.”

The Knights have been diligent in their recruiting process over the past two and a half years, ensuring they first invite players to the club to tour the facilities and city before trying to sign them.

Roosters prop Dylan Napa was on Newcastle’s radar in 2014, but talks fell apart after he refuted their offer to visit the club.

“He (Napa) wasn’t interested in playing here,” Brown said.

“The most important thing when it comes to the the way we recruit is to make sure the player we are looking at is genuine in his desire to want to move to Newcastle and play for the Knights.

“Then you need to make sure he is a good fit for the club and would add something positive to the playing group.

“If you make mistakes with who you recruit, you not only pay for it straight away, it can really hurt your cap down the track.

“But once you make a judgment call and bring a player in, as a coach, you have to back your ability to get the best out of him.”

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