SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: Kurt Mann of the Dragons breaks the tackle of Matt Frawley of the Bulldogs during the round 24 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at UOW Jubilee Oval on August 26, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Newcastle Knights have successfully poached Kurt Mann from the Dragons on at least a three-year deal after the utility was given release from his contract at St George with a season remaining.

It is understood by The Herald that Mann will finalise his new contract with the Knights as soon as possible, and could formally join Newcastle’s preseason preparation as early as Tuesday.

The opportunity to transform himself from a utility into a dedicated hooker is considered the primary motive for Mann’s decision, with the Knights looking to fill the void left by Slade Griffin’s long-term injury.

Mann has spent the majority of his career playing in a mix of backline positions, making his debut for Melbourne Storm in 2014 and then joining St George from 2016 onwards.

Originally from Queensland, Mann got his start with the Winton Devils but joined the Knights in 2011 to play in the NYC competition.

With the signing of Mann, Newcastle now have just one spot remaining in their 30-man playing roster for 2019.


    • The last line in this article sums it up… playing rooster for 2019… Seems like the knights have picked up a few tricks out of the rorters magic cap bag.

  1. The last line in this article sums it up- spelling error or not. “playing rooster for 2019.” Seems like the knights have picked up a few tricks out of the sydney rorters magic cap bag.

  2. What sort of d!ckhead celebrates this low life act from the Knights. I agree, NRL: are a total joke, but that has been the case since Gallop destroyed it.

        • He was the co-Captain. Why would Brown make him the co-Captain if he was unwanted?
          So the fact that your team released Mann must mean he was unwanted as well?
          Tariq signed for the next year and there was a lot of background pressure for Tariq to join the dragons immediately to bolster their pack.
          Try and sugar coat it any way you want but the fact is every team has signed a player that still had time to run at their previous club.

        • The difference was we hadn’t been trying to poach Simms before he was released. making him offers whilst still playing until we heard they were trying to offload him. And why did Knights release Simms halfway through the season if he was that important?

        • Freeing up salary cap space by releasing a player that clearly didn’t want to be there anymore.
          There were plenty of stories going around at the time that the Dragons were very interested in getting him early given they lost Mose Mosoe in the pre-season and let go of Sebastine Ikahihifoe mid season and the Ben Creagh issue had their forward depth tested.

    • You mean Robert? He’s the one that played for Souths, and by far the better winger. He’d absolutely kill it at the Saints

      • @ sydneyroosta

        So it isn’t enough that the chooks steal Crichton from out of the burrow now you want to gift wrap Jennings as an early Christmas present for ANOTHER club. How about you wrap Latrell Mitchell for Souths while you are at it and call it even sydneyroosta? 😉

        • Well as Beyoncé said Reg “put a ring on it” and sign the guy. Otherwise he’s free game like every other player (under contract or not) these days. As for Latrell, something tells me you might struggle to get him under the cap – even with Rusty’s help.

        • Why did you have to go there brissy? No one wants to read Reg’s comments on the Roosters cap again, but you have opened the door.

  3. Dragons had at least $550 prior to releasing Mann, when Mann signed it was reported he was getting 400 to 450k that means we should have close to a million available. Jennings and Norman would finish our team nicely. If Widdop leaves next year we would have another million to spend.

  4. So either the Dragons are going to blood another junior or Norman, Jennings or I’m hearing Johnston could be announced soon.

    Jennings is probably more needed than the other two

    • I would be leaning towards them signing someone. They previously weren’t going to let him go without getting someone.

      Johnson has been getting mentioned but I can’t see him leaving Souths to play on the wing (unless Bennett has just straight up said he doesn’t want him long term).

      Norman makes the most sense but at the same time not sure where he would play if it’s true that they have no intention of moving Dufty. Maybe 7 with Hunt at 9? But I really couldn’t see them doing that with McInnes, nor would it be warranted for McInnes.

      Interesting times, this off season, should be another announcement this week then.

  5. Maybe the Knights will finally help Kurt to Mann up! In the meantime, isn’t it about time that the NRL “man up” over consistent policing of the salary cap for ALL clubs instead of giving the Roosters (and now seemingly the Knights) a free pass? They should also “man up” in putting an end to the breaking of contracts that have a year or more remaining as well as continuing to register contracts of players with a history of violence against women or of serial misbehaviour off the field.

    Instead, they continue with smoke screen proposals like talk of expanding the competition nationally or moving the GF from Sydney when they can’t even get the basics right, the consistency or common sense interpretations of the rules of the game or in their equal application to ALL teams not just benefiting a few based on an underlying agenda.

    • “isn’t it about time that the NRL “man up” over consistent policing of the salary cap for ALL clubs instead of giving the Roosters (and now seemingly the Knights) a free pass?”
      You do know that the Knights were so under their salary cap for 2018 (a few months prior to the start of the season) they were looking at getting penalised by the NRL don’t you? So i believe they brought forward some payments, to ensure they were above the min (the min by the way is about $500K under the max.). Does that help explain why the Knights have coin?

      • Unfortunately, eelsmighty, many people are clueless and feel the need to mouth off without knowing easily available stats (that information was in the news when it happened, you would think someone who reads and comments on every article on this page would know that).

        Then these same people claim to know what they are talking about. How can someone be taken seriously when claiming the Knights are over the cap not even 12 months after nearly being fined for being too far under the cap??!

        • OK, great and “Faceless” OZ. Give us all a breakdown of the salary cap position of both the Roosters and the Knights. As I have been focusing my “enquiries” about the Roosters not the Knights perhaps you could start there. Once you have ticked that box we can then look at the Knights.

          You might want to research some of the posts I made a few weeks back with links and figures to support my argument. Or are you just “mouth off” as well “Faceless” or should I call you “Factless” until you can provide me with some facts instead of just a safe Lemming-like contrary opinion.

          Faceless or otherwise we are all entitled to an opinion here or are you banning free speech now “Factless”?

  6. I say good luck to both him and the knights. He never really justified the hype at the dragons. Maybe that was his utility factor that got in the way ?If the knights are over the cap they’ll be found out but otherwise good on them.
    I’ve heard the Alex Johnston rumours too but I’d prefer a bigger winger. Does this mean Jai Field will fill the utility role this year ? Hopefully not like Mann was used last year as a second row type option. Field on as a back up hooker / half and rotate Hunt/ macinnes around would be my preference.

  7. I don’t rate Mann that high – always seemed to be lost at the Dragons. Maybe a change will do him good. As for a replacement, if I was one to gossip, I would say Barrett is heading back to the Sth Coast to take up an assistant coaching role – and could attract an ex or current Manly player – just sayin’

    • I hope you are right and the Manly player coming is Marty Tapau and he plays at prop.
      Drag queens could splash more cash on him and not worry about another winger.
      As good as Jennings could be and Johnston would be Ok , but Tapau would provide the fire to make the red v pack one of the best.
      It could mean moving Lafai to wing to accommodate Lomax in centres. Granted Lafai and Dufty can be rocks or diamonds and red v backs tend to play better off the front foot provided by the forwards. Could this be a possible team?
      1. Dufty
      2. Lafai
      3. Lomax
      4. Aitken
      5. Pearson/pereira
      6. Widdop
      7. Hunt
      8. Tapau
      9. McInnis
      10. Vaughan
      11. T Simms
      12 Frizzel
      13. de Belin
      14. Graham
      15. K Simms
      16. Leilua
      17. Field

      • Haha, mate as much as I would love to see big Marty come south, I think it’s wishful thinking. Besides, they’re pretty set for forwards. Need more in the backline.

        • We don’t need more forwards, we have a glut of talent and we just got Corbin Simms. We need a gun winger. Peirera looks pretty good and I’d keep him in 1st grade, but we can’t have another rookie, so Jennings or Johnston should be our next move and while they are at it we need to be looking at a centre for 2020. Lomax should be in 1st grade and he’s an even better goal kicker than Widdop, so 2019 we have Aitken and Lafai as partner, but if Aitken doesn’t step up in 2019 we should be casting a wide net. Lafai has his moments but not enough.

  8. For everyone questioning their cap, you seem to be forgetting that they finshed rock bottom in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Their squad appeared way under the cap, that frees up a significant amount of remaining cap that’s passed on to other years. That being said, they have incredible depth. They’ve certainly learnt how to manage a squad.

  9. Can’t really see Kurt Mann becoming a great Hooker. He was good at the Storm in the centres but that’s about it. Knights should’ve chased hard and thrown a lot of coin at Brandon Smith or Blayke Brailey to become the hooker of the future but oh well. Danny Levi will now get released to any team he wants now. My bet is he joins the Tigers after they release Liddle to go to the Dogs and in turn the dogs release Lichaa to go to Parra.

  10. Penrith should try to buy Danny Levi as well. It would give them two hookers with pace, with Wade Egan.
    I think the Knights underestimate Levi . They’re always buying players to stick in first grade in front of him.

  11. Manns a steady player but no grunt with a bit of weight and size he could have been very damaging,but I think the Dragons need a big bod out wide to create havoc.

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