MUDGEE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 19: Mitchell Pearce of the Knights celebrates with Lachlan Fitzgibbon of the Knights after their victory in the round 10 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Newcastle Knights at Glen Willow Sporting Complex on May 19, 2019 in Mudgee, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The Newcastle Knights are set to make filling the departing Mitchell Pearce's roster spot a priority, but aren't necessarily going to chase a half.

The revelation came from Knights' football manager Danny Buderus on Wednesday when speaking on Triple M Radio, with the club potentially looking at either a half or fullback, with the option of Kalyn Ponga moving into the halves a year earlier than planned very much on the table for the men from the Hunter.

“We’ve got to weigh it up,” Buderus said.

“There’s a lot going on. We’ll start looking for a replacement. That’s something we’ll have to express and get to work.

NRL Rd 15 - Knights v Cowboys
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 23: Kalyn Ponga of the Newcastle Knights runs the ball during the round 15 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the North Queensland Cowboys at McDonald Jones Stadium on August 23, 2020 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

“I feel like we’re in a position now that whoever comes to fill the jersey is in a really good position because we’ve got a good list and the club is moving in the right direction.

“There are options, there is, but whether or not we go and buy a halfback or do we go the other way and buy a fullback.

“We need an established and experienced half. Adam brings that, and I’m excited about Phoenix Crossland and the way he’s come back in (to pre-season).

“We’ve got a responsibility to coach the players who are under our roof and develop these players.”

The move of Ponga into the halves has been touted for 2023, although he may not even be at the club come then, with player options in his favour for the next two years and the Dolphins reportedly set to table a monster bid for the Queensland star.

The Knights were understood to want to have signed a replacement before Pearce left, however, it is now clear that didn't happen for the club, with Pearce officially released to sign on with the Catalan Dragons earlier this week.

The club have been heavily linked with Wests Tigers' half Luke Brooks, and while the Tigers have hosed down that speculation, Buderus didn't hide the club's feelings surrounding the most-capped player in NRL history without a finals appearance.

He also said Adam Clune could provide the experience the club needed, admitting the new recruit was already impressing at pre-season training.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 14: Adam Clune of the Dragons takes on the defence during the round one NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Cronulla Sharks at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on March 14, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“Luke is a great player. He’s someone who I think would fit into any sort of structure at any club but the reality is he’s contracted to the West Tigers for another two years so I haven’t got an immediate answer,” he said.

“There’s a lot of interest around who’s going to replace Mitchell but there’s no answer on that.

“We’ll go through the process but we’ve got Adam Clune who’s come to the club, we’ve got Phoenix Crossland, we’ve got Jake Clifford — they’re the guys at the moment that are on my radar — to get the best out of those with Andrew Johns and the coaching staff."