NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 01: Danny Levi of the Knights looks dejected during the round 25 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has said the starting role at hooker belongs to Danny Levi.

This announcement comes after the Knights signed Kurt Mann from the Dragons.

Brown believes that Mann can be converted into a serviceable hooker in the NRL and could challenge Levi for the role in 2019.

“Worst case scenario is he will be in the 17 somewhere and best case for Kurt is he adapts to the dummy half game and puts a lot of pressure on people like Danny,” Brown told The Herald.

Mann took part in his first session with the club on Monday and will work with Levi and Zac Woolford, as well as assistant Rory Kostjasyn, in order to learn the hooker position.

There have been rumours circling that Levi could be on his way out of the Knights, but this was steadfastly denied by Brown.

“At the moment, he [Levi] is probably our only, what I’d call, a genuine top hooker that has played hooker all his life in the squad that’s played first grade,” Brown said.

“I would think that where Danny is at today compared to where he was at 12 months ago, I think he is more prepared to knuckle down and make some improvements and fight and become the best player he can become.”

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