The media has whipped Newcastle Knights supporters into a frenzy over the past week or so with the news, or fake news, depending on the outcome, of the possible signing of Canterbury Bulldogs, State of Origin and Australia front rower, David Klemmer.
From one perspective they have been spot on – the 24-year-old Klemmer would be the perfect fit for the Newcastle Knights. He is a big, powerful brute with 12 State of Origin and 17 Test matches under his belt and would offer the type of go forward desperately lacking at the Knights over the past few seasons.
It would appear if you are a Knights supporter that it is just a matter of time before the big bloke calls time at Canterbury and arrives in Newcastle territory to put the icing on the cake for what would appear, on paper, a fabulous off-season recruitment program by coach Nathan Brown and the Knights hierarchy.
But, my spies at Canterbury tell me that the deal is not done with Klemmer, who just happens to have two-years remaining on his contract with the Dogs and they are not about to let the Knights raid their kennel without paying a hefty price.
The Knights have refuted suggestions they will be involved in any player swap with the Bulldogs and say they are standing fast in their negotiations to bring arguably the best prop in the game to Newcastle city as a stand alone deal.
Word out of the Dogs camp is that they are looking for a like-for-like replacement from the Knights, if the Knights are so keen to have Klemmer in their ranks; perhaps Klemmer to the Knights and Herman Esse-esse returning to his junior club, Canterbury. A win for the Knights, but also a win for the Bulldogs. Not what we are looking for and not the ideal solution.
Another scenario has also been thrown up from a Bulldogs perspective; Klemmer to the Knights and former Cronulla centre Jesse Ramien to the Bulldogs. After all, Ramien did talk with Canterbury before citing family ties as the reasoning behind his signing with the Knights.
In the case of the former switch-a-roo, that option would leave the door open for the Knights to take Michael Jennings off Parramatta’s hands and enable the Knights to boost their pack with Klemmer and keep Esse-esse on Newcastle soil.
It is all a quandary at the moment, but anyone thinking that Canterbury will just roll over and let a rival club on the rise take their best forward without putting up a serious fight is up there on cloud nine.
Word out of the Bulldogs camp tells me they are happy to let Klemmer go – perhaps he could be getting paid a lot more than the $400,000 season being tossed about in the media, maybe more than double that (around $900,000 in 2019) – but his change of clubs could come at a cost – perhaps not in dollars, but in the form of a quality Knights player. Otherwise Canterbury say they are only too happy for Klemmer to stay put for at least the 2019 season.
The silly-season keeps rolling on.