The Knights and the Tigers are closing in on a swap deal involving prop David Klemmer and halfback Jackson Hastings.
The Daily Telegraph reported The Knights and Tigers are in discussions about an immediate player swap, with Hastings heading to Newcastle and Klemmer to Concord for 2023.
Watch every match of the Rugby League World Cup LIVE & Exclusive to Fox Sports, on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Newcastle have earmarked Hastings as their long-term solution to their halfback dilemma after failing to replace former skipper Mitchell Pearce.
The Tigers have been hunting Klemmer’s signature since October, but have recently considered a swap deal that would suit both them and the Knights.
Newcastle have tried to land Hastings’ teammate Luke Brooks since the 2022 pre-season, but he looks set to stay at the Tigers for 2023 at least, with an extension on a reduced deal on the cards.
The Knights see Hastings’ style as the perfect foil to Kalyn Ponga should he make the switch from fullback to five-eighth next season.
Newcastle would field a match more threatening spine in 2023 with Hastings and Ponga in the halves and Jayden Brailey at hooker, after the latter two battled injuries last season.
The Tigers view Hastings as a lock, despite three of their four wins last season coming with him at No.7.
The Knights have baulked at letting Klemmer, who is on $850,000 for the final year of his contract go, but are desperate to secure a halfback to steer their team around.
Newcastle have enough middle forwards in the Saifiti brothers, Jack Hetherington and Adam Elliott, which makes a player swap to fill their halfback void so appealing.
The Tigers want Adam Doueihi and Luke Brooks as their halves in 2023 and are also chasing Mitchell Moses to return to the club he started his NRL career with, so Hastings is on the outer.
Klemmer’s signing would be a massive boost for the Tigers’ pack after also signing Api Koroisau from Penrith and Isaiah Papali’i from the Eels, while John Bateman has been linked with a move to the wooden spooners.
28-year-old Klemmer has scored five tries in 194 NRL games for the Bulldogs and Knights as well as 14 Origins for NSW and 19 Tests for the Kangaroos.
Hastings, 26, has scored three tries in 63 games for the Roosters, Sea Eagles and Tigers, as well as 28 tries in 86 games in the Super League for Salford and Wigan.
Meanwhile, Doueihi has put himself in the shop window with an asking price of $900,000 a season.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Doueihi has taken over his own management and is seeking a three-year deal worth $900,000 a year as a halfback or five-eighth.
Doueihi is off-contract in 2023 and the Tigers have delayed talks with him until next year.
Given the lack of quality halves in the NRL and the projected rise in the salary cap, Doueihi is smart to set a high price tag, but it remains to be seen if the Tigers or an NRL rival will meet it.
There are only a select few halves in the NRL that command salaries around the $1 million mark and Doueihi is not in the class of Cameron Munster and Nathan Cleary.
The Lebanon international will have some reinforcements in the spine next season after the arrival of recruits Api Koroisau and Charlie Staines, so if the Tigers rise up the ladder he will have a chance to drive up his asking price through his performances.
The 24-year-old has scored 19 tries and 310 points in 81 games for the Tigers and Rabbitohs since his debut in 2018 and has scored three tries in eight Tests for Lebanon.
Originally published as Tigers-Knights close in on David Klemmer-Jackson Hastings swap