SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: Mitchell Pearce of the Roosters kicks during the round five NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Manly Sea Eagles at Allianz Stadium on March 31, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Newcastle Knights have announced the signing of Mitchell Pearce on a four-year deal.

Pearce joins the Knights from the Sydney Roosters, where he played 238 NRL games. The 28-year-old halfback has also played 17 State of Origin matches.

“This is wonderful news for the Club and for all of our Members and supporters,” General Manager Football Darren Mooney said.

“Mitchell is committed to our Club’s rebuild and wants to be here for the long-term.

“He brings experience and leadership, and without doubt he will complement our young squad.”

Coach Nathan Brown added, “Mitch will play an important role with the development of our young halves and will also be influential in the overall growth of our side.

“Mitch has an exceptional kicking game and is a great competitor.

“He has some big game experience and I know he comes here wanting to be a leader.”

Pearce, who will commence pre-season training on Monday, is excited to join the Club.

“I see a group of guys working hard and on the way up and I want to be part of making this team strong again for the town,” Pearce said.

“I am passionate about helping and leading the young players at the Club.

“From the moment I spoke to Nathan (Brown) and Darren (Mooney) about where the Club is heading, I knew this is where I wanted to be.

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“I can’t wait to get stuck in and start with the guys on Monday.”

Newcastle Knights 2018 Player Movements

2018 Gains
JJ Collins (Wests Tigers, 2020), Herman Ese'ese (Brisbane Broncos, 2020), Slade Griffin (Melbourne Storm, 2019), Aidan Guerra (Sydney Roosters, 2020), Christian Hazard (2018), Chris Heighington (Cronulla Sharks, 2018), Jack Johns (2018), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters, 2019), Jacob Lillyman (New Zealand Warriors, 2018), Tautau Moga (Brisbane Broncos, 2020), Brent Naden (Canberra Raiders, 2018), Mitchell Pearce (Sydney Roosters, 2021), Kalyn Ponga (North Queensland Cowboys, 2021), Connor Watson (Sydney Roosters, 2020)
2018 Losses
David Bhana (released), Brendan Elliot (Gold Coast Titans), Jaelen Feeney (released), Dane Gagai (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Jacob Gagan (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Trent Hodkinson (Cronulla Sharks), Rory Kostjasyn (retired), Peter Mata'utia (Leigh Centurions), Sam Mataora (retired), Jarrod Mullen (released), Mickey Paea (Hull FC), Pauli Pauli (Wakefield Trinity), Will Pearsall (released), Tyler Randell (Wakefield Trinity), Josh Starling (retired), Jack Stockwell (Gold Coast Titans), Anthony Tupou (retired), Joe Wardle (Huddersfield Giants)
Tyrone Amey (2018), Mitch Barnett (2020), Lachlan Fitzgibbon (2021), Tom Hughes (2018), Jack Johns (2018), Danny Levi (2020), Nick Meaney (2021), Dylan Phythian (2018), Nathan Ross (2019), Daniel Saifiti (2020), Jacob Saifiti (2020), Tom Starling (2018), Sam Stone (2020), Luke Yates (2019)
Off Contract 2019
Jamie Buhrer, Slade Griffin, Hymel Hunt, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Zac Woolford
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      • Me to Penso , guess he didn’t get the “votes”😂😂😂 cmon mate don’t take me personally, I’m here for the same reason you are , an opinion , a smack down maybe , but it’s all banter yeah !

    • Spot on MW47. Best result all round. Pearce has a chance to put his past behind him, learn from his mistakes and move on. I am thinking the Knights spine IMO should be:

      1. Ponga
      6. Watson
      7. Pearce
      9. Buhrer

      That spine will be one of the better ones in the competition once they get a chance to build a combination. Congrats Knights fans, this looks like a team that can make the 8 but with so many new recruits and a new spine the Knights will need some time before things click so don’t expect them to explode out of the blocks (especially when 5 of their first 8 games are against teams that made the top 8 – including Storm, Roosters and Broncos). They play the Sea Eagles twice and the Dragons who only narrowly missed the 8. So it will be a tough start for the Knights and I would not be writing them off if they have a poor start over the first 8 rounds.

      • Telling everyone, buhrer not a hooker. Great edge running backrower. Besides Danny Levi improving all the time..

        • We’ve had this discussion many times old mate. I am going off the evidence of him playing at hooker for the Knights this year. He straightened their attack, helped to consistently get them over the advantage line and his experience proved the difference in consistently choosing the correct option from dummy half.

          The Knights currently have plenty of talented back rowers and especially with Guerra coming on board next year the Knights are better served with Buhrer at hooker and dummy half IMO.

          crowy I think you are still remembering his firm running out wide for Manly which was some time ago now and with a completely different team that played like a well oiled machine. Back then I argued aboyt him playing at 5/8 or right centre.

          I just feel the Knights will lose too much with Levi at dummy half instead of Burher. Knights fans, your thoughts?

        • Also what about Dylan Phythian at hooker? I rate the kid but his preferred positions of FB, 5/8 and HB are taken by Ponga, Watson/Lamb and Pearce/Hodgkinson so any chance to get a shot there ahead oif Levi?

        • Sstid
          Buhrer can play hooker and play it well, it’s because he is just a good football player and tries his guts out everywhere, he doesn’t offer crisp fast service that Pearce and Watson are going to require. Levi will and if he doesn’t well he should go, also they bought spade griffin in to cover hooker with Levi. It doesn’t matter that buhrer played there in a well oiled team, that is his best spot and now with better service at knights that’s where he should play. Yes knights have lots of backrowers but he is still clearly there best one. Sione will go back to centre and buhrer will play there.
          Knights have recruited well but should of traded lillyman and heighinton and got a real good big front man, both those too whilst experienced won’t offer anything on the field

        • Certainly haven’t seen enough of him to have an opinion. But Levi will be playing, and can garunteed griffin didn’t leave premiers and sign with spooners to not play 1st grade

        • crowy, I never saw any greatness in Slade Griffin. He is a decent footballer and a definite first grader but Buhrer has him hands down just on what he achieved at the back end of 2017 compared to Griffin’s 25 appearances for the Storm. Even Brandon Smith shows more promise which is why he is still there and Griffin is not. IMO even Dylan Phythian looked more impressive in this position. I disagree that Buhrer’s service out of dummy half is slow. He rarely makes a poor choice, a bad pass or an incorrect read of the defensive line. He is also able to get forwards to run to the advantage line and his passes and ability to hold the defence (on most occasions) help to give the Knights every chance to go forward. Importantly, when pressured Buhrer does not panic.

          Finally Buhrer needs to be an 80 min player or close to it IMO, something he isn’t likely to achieve as an edge backrower especially when there is so much depth in this position at the club:

          Second Row options:

          Aidan Guerra, Jamie Buhrer, Mitch Barnett, Sione Mata’utia, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Chris Heighington, Jacob Saifiti, Sam Stone

          That’s 8 second rowers and only 4 can get selected (2 starting and 2 on the bench). You tell me where Buhrer can get anywhere near 80 mins competing with that lot, all of whom can play big minutes and have a strong case for selection?

          We will have to agree to disagree on this one it then.

        • Also I forgot to mention Buhrer takes the ball to the defensive line and put the defence in two minds or sets them back on their heels running with the ball in two hands out in front of him better than any other option I have seen for the Knights at hooker this year.

  1. Good signing for Knights but it’s a big risk. Now that Hayne is going to Eels, we should welcome back Gutherson IMO.

        • Lamb is a good player, you guys will become fans of him if he joins Manly. Newcastle would love to keep him, but it’ll be hard for him to stay with Watson and Pearce at the club. Too many people have assumed he’s a terrible player because of that kick he shanked against the Bulldogs without ever watching him. He actually kicked at 82.14% in 2017 too, plenty from the sideline for anyone that doubts his kicking because of that one kick.

        • I agree that Lamb has plenty of ability and the that buzz word, potential. I am also well aware of the shortcomings as well but that “kick he shanked against the Bulldogs” should have gone to Hodgkinson. Even if he had problems with his knee, a leg injury, whatever. He was the player to handle that pressure NOT the young kid especially after making that error in forcing a pass that was not on mid-field which lead to a break and then a try to the Dogs. His confidence was already shaken. No Hodgkinson should have stepped up. It was kickable for him and the Knights would have won.

          I still can’t see the sense in Hodgkinson hanging around at the Knights. He is now in the same position that Mitchell Pearce found himself in at the Dogs. Both play at HB and Connor Watson is a certainty for 5/8 if Pearce plays HB. Hodgkinson would be a really good fit for the Sea Eagles and for DCE. Even though Lamb is a good long term option Hodgkinson will help DCE take his game to the next level as he will shoulder the responsibility of leading the team around the part and organising and directing the attack and also take care of the kicking game leaving DCE free to play on both sides of the field as a running 5/8 (just like Keary in 2017).

        • I like Lamb too. Especially at Christmas! 😉

          But seriously, I think he belongs at the Dragons. Then we could all say; “Mary had a little Lamb”. 🐑 Bahahahahaha 😂

      • I haven’t seen Lamb play to judge him. I really hope Hastings does step up to the challenge.

        Gutherson is an option but highly unlikely we will get him back.

        • He is a decent player eaglerock but IMO needs a senior experienced player who can help organise the attack. He was thrown in the deep end at times IMO at the Knights (out of necessity). I am not sure that DCE could be that influence if I’m honest. Truthfully, it is not DCE’s game. The same is true of Shaun Johnson and if the Warriors were not asleep at the wheel he is exactly the sort of player that will bring out the best in SJ if SJ could take on a similar running 5/8 role.

    • Gutherson will be playing in his best position (at FB) for the Eels and French will be playing in his (on the wing). Hayne is a centre now but it depends on what happens to Corey Norman.

      So are you saying that you would play Gutherson at FB over Tommy Turbo?

      • You have a point but I really want him back since he’s a local,, he would play great at centre if Kelly doesn’t pick up his game. Kelly will go to the next level next season if he’s determined.

        • “I really want him back since he’s a local”

          I know what you mean…

          Dylan Walker (Mascot Jets – Souths junior)
          Nathan Peats (La Perouse Panthers – Souths junior)
          Addin Fonua-Blake (Mascot Jets – Souths junior)
          Josh Addo-Carr ( La Perouse Panthers and Moore Park – Souths junior)
          Cameron McInnes (Botany Rams – Souths junior)
          Josh Mansour (South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC)
          James Roberts (South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC)
          Apisai Koroisau (South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC)

  2. 1: K Ponga

    6: T Hodgo
    7: M Pearce
    9: C Watson

    That’s how knights spine should be
    Brock lamb is still learning
    Hodgo should partner Pearce

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