1. Kurt Mann
Kurt Mann killed it as a running five-eighth for the Knights prior the arrival of Blake Green.
He’s not only been showing his versatility and speed but his passing game has shown why he’s hands down been the best player for the Knights this year.
However, he’s been gunning it quite well from dummy half so I’ll be just as happy to keep him there.
(Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)
2. Phoenix Crossland
The Kiwi-born Newcastle playmaker has come off the bench to play at dummy half in the Knights’ last three matches, also scoring his first try in first grade on top of that.
Crossland has got playmaking ability that will come in handy for the fifth-tackle option.
He’s a long-term halfback and perhaps the one who will take Mitchell Pearce’s spot after he hangs up the boots. He can also play at number six.
3. Tex Hoy
Young Tex Hoy has shown his value for Newcastle in first grade regardless of where he plays, whether at fullback, five-eighth, wing or bench utility. He’s actually my top choice of the three to get the role.
I see him as another long-term player for Newcastle. With Kalyn Ponga set to have the fullback role, Hoy will be settling for five-eighth and has a very on-point kicking game, which was an influence on his debut for Newcastle to come from 14 points down to tie up the game at 14-all against Penrith.
Now, one option I didn’t add in was Mason Lino. I don’t think he’s going to be looked at because he and Mitchell Pearce have similar playmaking styles, which may contradict each other.
With Newcastle’s final run of games to play, they’re just one win away from locking up their spot in the finals.
It’s important that whoever gets the five-eighth role doesn’t just play the role, but owns it as well. Seven points clear of all teams ninth to 12th, it’s important they don’t ease off the pedal but floor it and be just as much of a highway star as Ian Gillan.
Newcastle are possibly the hardest team to predict in 2022 with their halves quandary, Kalyn Ponga’s fluctuations and their inconsistency over the past two seasons adding up to a side whose results could vary wildly.