Newcastle Knights centre Bradman Best is set to re-sign with the club having knocked back an offer from the Wests Tigers in a huge win for the NRL club. Best was a star in Game III of State of Origin last year and his form helped the Knights make an NRL finals run, before they lost to the Warriors.
Speculation has been growing around Best with a boosted contract expected to come his way after scoring 13 tries in 25 games in 2023. Benji Marshall and the Wests Tigers were reportedly looking to make the bulldozing runner the highest paid centre in the NRL.
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The offer was expected to reach $800,000 a season, in a $2.4 million deal, with the Tigers looking to rebuild their squad. However, according to The Daily Telegraph, Best wants to continue his momentum at the Knights and is set to resign for a slightly less amount in a massive win for the club.
Best is set to earn $700,000 a season in a deal that will extend to 2027. The Knights' young core of a team will benefit from Best's resigning as they look to build on their 2023 momentum.
And Best praised the culture at the club after a rejuvenated team lifted the spirits of the town, creating arguably the best NRL atmosphere at their home ground in more than a decade during their 10-game unbeaten streak.
“I want to stay here. The Tigers have shown some interest, they are keen, but I have to weigh everything up,” Best said to the publication. “If it all works out as we plan, I’ll be staying at the Knights. We’ll see what happens but I’m really settled here.
“I love the club and I love the culture we have built. The boys here are all so connected and we are a close bunch, so to walk away from that would be really hard." Best said the deal is in the hands of his manager, which he also shares with Tigers target Jarome Luai.
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Jarome Luai is one of the biggest names testing the open market in 2023. The Panthers have reportedly tabled a two-year, $1.7 million contract extension to the five-eighth, with salary cap pressure restricting how much they can afford to pay for the three-time premiership winner.
In contrast, Luai is expected to draw offers in excess of $1 million per season at rival clubs like the Tigers. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, new Tigers coach Marshall met with Luai at his family home last week to pitch to him the merits of joining the club.
“I love that Benji is being pretty proactive in trying to get these players, going out to get them but we call it a secret meeting,” Aaron Woods said on Triple M radio this week. “Everything at the Tigers seems to come out and it’s probably going to be on Jarome Luai’s mind so it’s a funny one. But I love that Benji is out there trying to get the best players.”
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