Antonio Kaufusi
Heading to the ESL

Antonio Kaufusi and Mark Taufua are the latest contracted Newcastle players to have been shown the door as Knights management prepares for the arrival of master coach Wayne Bennett.

Just days after Cory Paterson was advised to “investigate other playing opportunities” for next season, the Newcastle Herald can reveal Kaufusi and Taufua have been given similar instructions.

Like Paterson, Kaufusi and Taufua are signed for next season.

But all three have been told Bennett was unlikely to retain them at the end of the 2012 campaign.

Newcastle’s strategic-development manager, Keith Onslow, confirmed last night that Kaufusi and Taufua have been given permission to explore other options.

It is understood Taufua has already attracted interest from rival clubs.

Onslow said such player movement was becoming commonplace in the NRL.

He said Nate Myles, who has been released from his 2012 deal with the Roosters to sign a four-year deal at the Gold Coast, was a “perfect example” of the possible benefits when clubs and players are flexible about contractual arrangements.

Knights coach Rick Stone said yesterday there was “no real confirmation” on whether Paterson, Kaufusi or Taufua would definitely be leaving Newcastle at the end of the season.

Read more at the Newcastle Herald