The long-term playing future of Brock Lamb could be decided within a matter of weeks with three rival NRL clubs including Manly circling the young Newcastle Knights playmaker.
In the strongest indication yet that Lamb could be lost to the Knights in 2019, his manager Gavin Orr told the Newcastle Herald on Monday he was hopeful of ending the speculation surrounding the Maitland junior and his future within a matter of weeks before revealing the Knights are yet to make him a firm offer.
“We are going down the track with three clubs at the moment but all have asked to keep it on the lowdown because they obviously have players already there in those positions,”Orr said.
“Those clubs rang me and we have held meetings. They want to know where Brock is at.
“They want to know if they can do a deal now and hopefully put some pressure on to maybe get an early release or if not, he plays the year out with the Knights and goes there the following year.
“We are happy to have those meetings and just wait and see where we are with the Knights. It’s a little bit up in the air at the moment until we get a bit more clarity from the Knights.”
Manly is one of the three clubs involved in talks but it is unclear which other NRL rivals have expressed an interest.
Asked did he have a time-frame for a decision on Lamb’s future, Orr said he did not want the speculation to drag on, surprisingly claiming it will be decided sooner rather than later.
“We are looking at securing Brock’s future within the next few weeks,” he said.
That will be news to the Knights, who are yet to table a formal offer.
Only a matter of days ago, Knights CEO Phil Gardner indicated the club is keen to sign Lamb long-term.
“We see him as a long-term player for us,” Gardner said.
“We think he fits into our group really well. Fingers crossed that he not only plays well for us next year but for a number of years to come.”
The Knights were not prepared to publicly buy into Orr’s comments on Monday with suggestions his time-frame for a decision is more about putting pressure on the club to respond.
There is at the very least an expectation the Knights will be given an opportunity to retain the play-maker when the crunch comes.
Lamb’s future has been under a cloud ever since the Knights won the race to secure Mitchell Pearce’s signature.
Lamb had been all set to start next season at halfback alongside Roosters recruit Connor Watson in the halves.
But Pearce’s decision and coach Nathan Brown’s commitment to Watson that he will be given “a good shot” at nailing down the five-eighth spot in the early rounds in 2018 has left Lamb in limbo.
Manly, after missing out on Pearce, expressed an interest in signing Lamb straight away as a replacement for the departed Blake Green.
But Brown has told his young halfback he will be going nowhere next season.
“A lot of things can change very quickly in this game,”Brown said recently.
“No-one has supported Brock more than I have and it will only take an injury to our halves or Kayln (Ponga) for him to get his chance.”