Knights drop Votu
BY ROBERT DILLON of Newcastle Herald
The Knights are poised to sign Fijian triallist Simione Sawene but have no plans to recruit his high-profile countryman Watisoni Votu.
Sawene and Votu have played in three reserve-grade trials and spent the past month training with the Knights.
Sawene, a 20-year-old front-rower who grew up in Brisbane, has shown enough for the Knights to believe he can be a project player in their NSW Cup squad.
But Votu, the 26-year-old winger who captained Fiji’s World Sevens rugby union team in December, is understood to be considering offers from overseas.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said Sawene would be offered a second-tier deal.
”We were probably looking for a front-rower to bolster our resources in the NSW Cup squad and Simione has been impressive in the trials and he’s been rewarded,” Gidley said. ”He’ll be offered a 12-month contract.”
Gidley was hopeful Votu would benefit from his short stint with the Knights.
”He’s spent a few weeks training with an NRL club and hopefully he’ll learn from that experience and it will help him become a better player,” he said.
Sawene, who represented Fiji at the IRB World Junior Championship in Italy last June, is best known as a No.8 in rugby union but has been used as a prop since joining Newcastle.
At 196 centimetres and 111kilogrammes, he appears to have the physical attributes to make an impact in the 13-man code.
Newcastle’s coaching staff believes he is young enough to make a successful transition.