He’s the form prop in the NRL, but when Kade Snowden lines up against Newcastle he will be auditioning for two coveted roles in his future.
The off-contract Cronulla Sharks enforcer has been strongly linked with a big-money move to Nathan Tinkler’s Knights, but doubts have emerged over whether incoming supercoach Wayne Bennett will ratify any deal that pays Snowden over $300,000.
It was Tinkler who urged Snowden to pull the pin on re-signing with Cronulla before the season started on a deal believed to be worth $350,000 a year – and one which is still on the table at the resurgent club.
With Bennett’s Dragons not playing until Monday night, there’s little doubt that the seven-time premiership winner will have a close eye on how Snowden fares against his hometown team.
A performance like the one he dished up against Manly last week, where he charged for 108 metres, made 39 tackles and laid on two tries in a best-on-ground effort will add weight to Tinkler’s demands that he is worth top dollar.
But of more pressing concern for the burly 24-year-old will be cementing his spot in Ricky Stuart’s NSW squad for the opening State of Origin fixture on May 25.
With St George Illawarra’s Michael Weyman injured, NSW’s front row stocks have never looked lower – but the bright spark at the start of the season has been Snowden’s impressive form.
Champion Blues prop Steve Roach believes Snowden’s time has come to take over the mantle of NSW’s top dog.
“Kade Snowden should be in the side … He’s a good player (and) he’s playing good,” Roach told AAP.
“The big thing about Origin, it’s not the three games, it’s the 10 weeks that you’ve got to be able to steel yourself for and organise yourself to be ready to compete in all of those games.
“He’s got a a taste of it, he knows what to expect.
“Apart from Weyman, because he’s injured and he won’t be picked, Snowden would be the first prop that I’d pick.”