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)

The Newcastle Knights’ plan to acquire under contract utility Kurt Mann from St George Illawarra has been delayed due to uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of Dragons playmaker Gareth Widdop.

Mann asked the Dragons for a release which would see him join the Knights on a three-year deal where he would be playing a hooking role, which the club is still confident will come to fruition.

Before the Dragons sign any release papers, the club are looking to secure an outside back to replace Mann.

The Dragons were negotiating with out off-contract Parramatta Eels player Jarryd Hayne until he was charged with sexual assault just over a week ago. The issue has been further complicated by Widdop’s desire to return to England to play in the Super League at the end of the 2019 season.

Knights player list manager Troy Pezet admitted the club is watching the development at the Dragons closely but remains comfortable with Newcastle’s position.

“It is still a wait and see process for us and there is no real urgency from our end,” he told The Newcastle Herald

“I’m not too sure about the situation with Widdop but the market seems to be changing every day. It was [David] Klemmer and Napa on Monday and today it’s Shaun Johnson and Widdop.”

“We’ll just sit back and see how it plays out.”

“The Dragons are obviously looking for an outside back as a replacement for Kurt and are well aware that he wants to take up an opportunity to potentially secure a first grade spot in another position.”

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