NRL Rd 13 - Knights v Eels
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 06: Simi Sasagi of the Knights warms up during the round 13 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Parramatta Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium, on June 06, 2021, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

The Canberra Raiders are reportedly closing on the signing of Simi Sasagi, while both Hudson Young and Tom Starling have all but agreed to new contract extensions in the nation's capital.

Sasagi is on contract with the Knights until the end of next season, but has been well and truly out of favour in the Hunter under Adam O'Brien this season.

Coming off an injury last year, Sasagi is yet to feature as anything other than the 18th man for the Knights this year, failing to add to his 16 NRL appearances since a 2021 debut.

Sasagi came through the junior ranks as one of the most talented young halves in the game, but has struggled to lock down a position there for the Knights despite the club's enormous struggles.

Instead, Sasagi has been utilised as a utility who can play in the halves, at centre and at lock forward, with the 22-year-old filling all of those roles during his time in first grade so far.

The Auckland-born youngster has mostly been relegated to the QLD Cup this season and has scored three tries in eight games for the Knights' reserve-grade outfit, while averaging 122 metres per game.

Despite the Raiders' need for a Jack Wighton replacement, The Canberra Times are reporting the Raiders are interested in luring Sasagi to the club in the same role he plays in Newcastle, either in the centres or as a specialist utility.

It'll be intriguing to see if Sasagi jumps at the opportunity, although it goes without saying that he would need to gain a release from the Knights before any negotiating can be done, with the youngster re-signing on a two-year extension before 2022 got underway that keeps him locked into the Hunter until the end of 2024.

Meanwhile, the publication is also reporting that the Raiders are on the verge of re-signing both Hudson Young and Tom Starling.

The Young re-signing has been heavily reported in recent times by multiple sources, and Zero Tackle understands through inquiries that it was part of a three-pronged package deal in the forwards. Emre Guler was the first of those, re-signing until the end of 2025, while it's anticipated that Corey Horsburgh, who was also off-contract at the end of next season but has a player option for 2025, will also put pen to paper on an extension with the Green Machine.

Young made his Origin debut this year, while Horsburgh was in the extended squad for Queensland in Game 2, with both being among the best forwards in the NRL over the first half of 2023.

Meanwhile, Starling's contract will see the Raiders continue with plenty of depth at hooker, given Danny Levi and Zac Woolford are also both contracted through to the end of the 2024 campaign.