Antonio Kaufusi
Staying with Knights

Almost two months ago, the towering Tongan-born prop was told by Newcastle Knights officials that it would be in his interests to start looking for a new club, because he did not feature prominently in the plans of incoming coach Wayne Bennett.

There were a couple of slight problems.

Antonio Kaufusi has another season to run on his Knights contract, and he and his young family have taken a liking to the Newcastle lifestyle and are in no hurry to leave.

His management soon relayed a message to the Knights that the 26-year-old intended to see out his deal, thanks all the same.

It cannot have been pleasant, but Kaufusi is no stranger to such upheaval.

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Barely a year ago he found himself in a similarly unenviable position when he fell out of favour at the North Queensland Cowboys, 18 months into a three-year contract.

The Cowboys decided to play hardball, dropping Kaufusi to their Queensland Cup feeder team, the Mackay Cutters, a snub that no doubt contributed heavily towards him accepting a lifeline from the Knights.

Twelve months on, Kaufusi found himself suffering an unwanted case of deja vu.

Only this time, instead of accepting that his days were numbered, he decided to take a stand.

And the message to Knights officials and Bennett is coming though loud and clear – big Antonio wants to stay and is determined to prove he is worth retaining, or at the very least an attractive commodity for rival clubs.

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Read more at the Newcastle Herald