The Canberra Raiders have become shock contenders for the signature of unwanted Newcastle Knights hooker Isaac De Gois.
De Gois was tipped to join the Cronulla Sharks after being told he was not a part of Wayne Bennett’s plans at Newcastle. A return to the Sutherland Shire, however, is no longer a fait accompli after the Raiders officially became contenders for the Portuguese international’s services at lunchtime on Friday.
The 26-year-old hooker had agreed to a three-year extension with the Knights earlier in the year, but that was before new owner Nathan Tinkler and incoming coach Bennett came to power.
It is understood Newcastle great Danny Buderus has been sounded out about a return to the Hunter after a stint with English Super League club Leeds.
The developments mean De Gois is deemed surplus to requirements, although the Knights have indicated they will honour the deal if he is unable to find another club.
Starting hooker Matt Hilder is now negotiating with the club for an extension.
In an interview earlier this month, De Gois said: ”Obviously I’d love to stay here but I don’t deal with that.”
The Raiders already have several options at hooker. Captain Alan Tongue is the first-choice No.9, while Glen Buttriss and Indigenous All Stars representative Travis Waddell are competent rakes.
The Sharks had been favourites to sign De Gois after tabling an offer. But it is understood Canberra coach David Furner rates the former Tiger highly and the Raiders have asked him to hold off signing with Cronulla.