Wayne Bennett has contacted rookie prop Sam Anderson to try to convince him his future lies with the Newcastle Knights, not the Penrith Panthers.
Anderson was approached last week by Panthers supremo Phil Gould, who is trying to lure Newcastle’s under-20 player of the year to the foot of the mountains next season.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said yesterday that he was confident Anderson, a West Maitland junior, would accept a one-year contract extension.
Gidley revealed incoming coach Bennett had spoken to the former Kurri Kurri first-grader to persuade him that the Knights consider his retention a priority, after outgoing Newcastle coach Rick Stone delivered a similar message last week.
Newcastle’s engine-room stocks have been depleted by the departures of Mark Taufua (Cronulla), Antonio Kaufusi (London), Dan Tolar (retired) and Josh Ailaomai (Roosters) but the club have signed Test prop Kade Snowden from the Sharks and rookie Robbie Rochow from Melbourne.
Tyro Zane Tetevano will be hoping for more opportunities next season and under-20s prop Rodney Mason, the younger brother of former Test star Willie Mason, will step up into the senior squad.