BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Kurt Mann of the Dragons breaks through the defence during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Newcastle’s newest signing Kurt Mann is set to try to become the Knights’ leading hooker next season, although club legend Kurt Gidley believes that’s much easier said then done.

Mann has started games at fullback, wing, centre, five-eighth and halfback over his 88-game NRL career, but has never begun a contest at No. 9.

Gidley believes Mann’s capable of making the switch, but says a move to hooker is up there with one of the toughest to complete in the game.

“He’s got plenty of skills and attributes that any team player would want,” Gidley told the Newcastle Herald.

“But there’s no doubt hooker is the most demanding position on the field, I believe.

“I played fullback, where you have to do plenty of running, which is tough, but the wrestling and tackling aspect of hooker, it definitely takes a toll on you.

“The fatigue, and the soreness in the days after a game, and picking yourself up to do it week after week, it’s a real challenge.

“But he’s a good player and I believe he’ll be able to handle it.”

The Knights signed Mann on a three-year deal on Monday, six years after he left the club to pursue opportunities at the Melbourne Storm.

11 COMMENTS

  1. They are trying to turn Mann into a Damien Cook clone but he has nowhere near the same speed or acceleration. I think this experiment is doomed to fail and he will be steam rolled defending in the middle third if the field.

    IMO Jamie Buhrer is the Knights best option at hooker.

  2. Unlike others I dont think this experiment is doomed. Knights have the right people in place to help Brown, Buderus and Griffin. I think it will however be a slow transformation, he wont have the natural instincts of when to run and counting numbers but he has a reputation as being very ‘coachable’ and hard working and has the basic skills of passing both ways and passing off the ground.
    If Pearce performs well early in the season it will make the transition that much easier as well.

    • I agree, the fans are writing the whole thing off far too prematurely. Mann will be a good signing for the knights, and will add a welcome running game from the dummy half. The Knights could really benefit in meters from his running game, just as Souths were able to do with Cook this year. Mann has a way to go to reach that level, but remember that 12 months ago, we wouldn’t nearly have predicted that Cook would reach the levels he has.

    • I hope he does work out as a decent hooker because we need some competition for the spot to get Levi back to his best. These 2 rotating might be a good combination whilst still giving the utility option if a back or half goes down.
      I did read somewhere that when he was in the Storm system he was training in the hooking position but moved due to an injury. I hope he picked a few things up from Smith while he was there.

      • During the periods that Jamie Buhrer has played at dummy half for the Knights, I felt that he has straightened their attack, given them experience and maturity in their last tackle options and decisions around the play the ball and stiffened their defence in the middle third of the field (particularly when compared to Levi). It seems in your mind though Beastie (and your fellow Knights supporters) that Buhrer is not even an option. Why?

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