Newcastle Knights coach Rick Stone is on the verge of agreeing to remain at the NRL club to assist his successor, Wayne Bennett, for the next four years.

Stone’s brother and manager Steve, the former Canberra Raiders and Adelaide Rams utility, has been negotiating with Tinkler Sports Group management since Bennett announced on April 12 that he would coach the Knights for the next four years starting on November 1.

‘‘We’re getting closer. There’s just a couple of little minor things in the contract that we’ve got to get sorted out, and we should be pretty close by the end of the week,’’ Stone said last night.

TSG and acting Knights chief executive Troy Palmer said Stone had always been in the company’s plans to remain at the club and continue his coaching education under the guidance of Bennett, the seven-time premiership-winning mentor.

Stone said finalising his immediate future this week, when the Knights had a bye and he did not have to prepare the team for a game, would be favourable but was not essential.

The appointment of Bennett at the Knights, Steve Price to succeed him at the Dragons, Tim Sheens’s decision to remain at the Tigers, and the announcement that Wigan’s Michael Maguire would replace John Lang at Souths leaves only Penrith without a coach next year.

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The Panthers have told Matt Elliott he will not be required after this season. Stone has been mentioned as a possible candidate, but his preference is to remain in Newcastle and it is understood Penrith are chasing a more experienced coach.

NSW State of Origin boss Ricky Stuart and English Super League club coaches Nathan Brown (Huddersfield) and Mick Potter (Bradford) are believed to be at the top of Penrith’s short list after Sheens knocked them back to sign a new three-year deal with the Tigers.

Read more at the Newcastle Herald