The Newcastle Knights could be one club facing a significant overhaul heading into 2025, with a number of key players still off-contract on the final approach to November 1, and constant rumblings around the salary cap.

Add to that that at least some of the players off-contract - most notably Bradman Best and Jacob Saifiti - are going to be very popular on the open market, and there will be room to shuffle for the Knights.

The club could have been in dire need of it too, with a coach in Adam O'Brien hanging onto his job by a thread mid way through the 2023 season, but now, after a staggering final couple of months and charge to the finals, he is secure in his role and can start to build the Hunter-based club for a full on premiership tilt over the next couple of years.

While they have certain areas of the side settled, there are big questions over others, and November 1 could be the perfect time for the Knights to secure some key acquisitions.

In this series, Zero Tackle are running the rule over all 17 clubs and where they stand heading to the date when all players off-contract at the end of 2024 are free to negotiate with their rivals.

Current squad for 2025
Jayden Brailey, Jed Cartwright, Jack Cogger, Phoenix Crossland, Adam Elliott, Jackson Hastings, Jack Hetherington, Dylan Lucas, Greg Marzhew, Kai Pearce-Paul, Kalyn Ponga, Will Pryce, Daniel Saifiti, Leo Thompson

Current best 17 for 2025
1. Kalyn Ponga
2. Greg Marzhew
3. No player signed.
4. No player signed.
5. No player signed.
6. Jack Cogger
7. Jackson Hastings
8. Daniel Saifiti
9. Jayden Brailey
10. Leo Thompson
11. Kai Pearce-Paul
12. Jack Hetherington
13. Adam Elliott
14. Phoenix Crossland
15. Jed Cartwright
16. Will Pryce
17. Dylan Lucas

Players off-contract at end of 2024
Bradman Best, Mat Croker, Tyson Frizell (player option), Dane Gagai, Tyson Gamble, Krystian Mapapalangi, Jacob Saifiti, Enari Tuala, Toni Tupouniua

Here are five players available to negotiate on November 1 from outside of the club the Sea Eagles could target for 2025 and beyond.


2. Angus Crichton

It looks more and more certain that Crichton will leave the Roosters at the end of the 2024 campaign.

While the Roosters were going to agree to an early release if he could land a deal in rugby union, that now appears to have fallen through. The Roosters have reportedly suggested they won't release Crichton early to help out another NRL team.

That said, the tri-colours are unlikely to have the desire or salary cap to retain Crichton beyond the end of 2024 given the state of offers some other teams are likely to send through.

QLD v NSW - State Of Origin: Game 2

The Knights are likely to be one of them.

While Kai Pearce-Paul arrives from England, their other talent in the second row is a little skinny to say the least, and Crichton would add the experience the club are likely to lose if Tyson Frizell hangs up the boots.

He can also play in the middle third if need be, and that is another area the Knights currently look as if they might lack in, particularly if they fail to re-sign Jacob Saifiti which also looks likely.


  1. I think Tom Burgess is the most “out-of-the-box” selection you have yet written; and I love it.

    Crichton would be my preferred choice because he is so solid. Cotric is interesting – I thought he was pushing 30. Like you said, he seems to have been around for ever.

  2. Yeah, I think Burgess is very unlikely to be an NRL player in 2025 and if he is, even more unlikely to not be at Souths… but he is the type of player a few clubs could use for a season for sure.

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