Wayne Bennett, who once told Justin Poore he wasn’t worth the money he was getting paid, is set to throw the former NSW State of Origin prop an NRL lifeline.
Bennett’s Newcastle outfit is believed to have a two-year deal on the table for the 27-year-old front-rower – who was unwanted by Parramatta after three injury-plagued seasons with the club.
It was during Bennett’s reign at St George Illawarra that Poore played for NSW in 2009, before he took up a big-money offer from the Eels which the Dragons failed to come close to rivalling.
It is claimed during those negotiations that Bennett told Poore’s then-manager Todd Buckingham that the reason the Dragons were not willing to match other offers was because he was already being paid `overs’.
But with the Knights lacking depth up front behind Kade Snowden and Willie Mason, Bennett is keen on adding some extra muscle to his roster and only a last-ditch offer from abroad stands in the way of the pair reuniting.
“We’re just talking to Newcastle and waiting for some final details and we’ve got to hear back from (Super League club) Wakefield tonight,” Poore’s manager Chris Haddad told AAP on Monday.
“It’ll be one of those two clubs.”
Knights recruitment manager Peter Mulholland admitted there was some interest from the club.
“We’re talking with (Poore’s) manager … at this stage nothing’s finalised,” Mulholland said.
“Wayne just wants to assess where he’s at and we’ll have a talk about the offer as we go through.”
The addition of Poore would represent the third member of the Dragons’ 2009 pack to reunite with Bennett at the Knights following the recruitment of Jeremy Smith and Beau Scott.
Newcastle’s forwards struggled to match it with their NRL rivals in 2012, Bennett’s desperation evident in the mid-season signing of Mason.
Mulholland said he expected Mason to sign a two-year extension with the club within the next two weeks.
“It’s getting towards the end of it,” Mulholland said of negotiations.
“We’ve just about finalised it – it’s not far off.”