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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Handyman Buhrer to offer Knights quick fix

NATHAN Brown admits he is undecided aboutwhat positionJamie Buhrer will play for Newcastle next season. He just knows that the former Manly utility will ensure all bases are covered.
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The Knights announced on Tuesday that Buhrer was their first major signing of the 2017 pre-season, after agreeing to a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old, a former NSW Origin representative who won a premiership with the Sea Eagles in 2011, is renowned for his versatility and is set to provide Newcastle with the Mr Fixit handyman they have lacked since Kurt Gidley’s departure at the end of 2015.

VERSATILE: Knights coach Nathan Brown says Jamie Buhrer covers all bases. Picture: Getty Images

“He can play numbers of positions,’’ coach Brown told the Newcastle Herald.

“He’s a good little utility player, at the end of the day.

“He play back row, he can play lock, hooker. He has even played at six [five-eighth] and in the centres in first grade.

“Manly have had him fill in different spots over the years because he’s a good little footy player.

“So we feel he’ll be a really good acquisition for us.’’

All 15 of Buhrer’s games for Manly this season were as second row, but one of Newcastle’s few strengths towards the end of their dismal 2016 campaign was the back-row pairingof Mitch Barnett and Sione Mata’utia, who Brown has described as a potential long-term partnership.

Nonetheless, the coach said Buhrer was “another option’’ who might displace either Barnett or Mata’utia in the starting line-up.

“We need a bit of depth there,’’ he said. “At the moment we had Sione and Mitch Barnett, so we were definitely another one short.

“He’ll add some good depth there. He’s a grand final winner, a great trainer and a good talker, so he’ll bring a lot of other things to the table.’’

The obvious vacancy in Newcastle’s pack is at lock, after the retirement of Kiwi veteran Jeremy Smith.

But the Knights remain hopeful of luring Gold Coast enforcer Greg Bird back to his home-town club, who would be a ready-made replacement for Smith.

Bird’s availability will depend on the outcome of police and NRL integrity-unit investigations into two allegedincidents last month at north coast hotels.

There is speculation that the Titans are eager to offload the controversial 32-year-old, and Brown has stated on numerous occasions that he is interested in signing Bird.

But Manly are also rumoured to be circling and may be able to trump any offer from theKnights.

Newcastle are expected to confirm the signing of former North Queensland hooker Rory Kostjacyn within days, having apparently beaten premiers Cronulla to secure his signature.