Newcastle prop Daniel Saifiti has put his hand up for a bigger leadership role after revelations the Knights are considering dumping Mitchell Pearce as captain.
On Monday the club confirmed they are exploring a new leadership model for 2021, with Pearce’s role as captain in serious doubt for the new season due to a texting scandal.
The incident has rocked the club over the past few weeks after it emerged Pearce had exchanged inappropriate text messages with a young staff member, which forced the postponement of his December wedding.
However, it has opened the door for local junior Saifiti to either captain the Knights or form part of a leadership group as the club looks to overhaul their public image ahead of the new season.
“I’ve played five years now and at Origin level, I’ve done my trade and I know what leadership it takes to get to the next level,” he said.
“It’s something I’m interested in.
“I’ll put my hand up, doesn’t mean I’ll get chosen but it’s something I’m interested in.”
At 24 he is one of the more experienced players in the side.
Saifiti made his NRL debut with the Knights in 2016 and will notch up his 100th game in round one, having played five Origins for NSW.
His guidance will be important while the club attempts to heal from the latest controversy surrounding Pearce.
Senior Knights players are understood to be close friends with the partner of the staff member who was in contact with Pearce, which has sparked rumours of a fractured playing group.
However, Saifiti denies there is a split in the group and is confident once Pearce addresses the team when he returns to training later this week it will be put to bed.
“Adsy (coach Adam O’Brien) has done a really good job of bringing us closer together and even before that,” Saifiti said.
“A lot of us boys have been together for four or five years now.
“We’ve got a lot of older heads and some straight up, aggressive people that if there was a split we’d address it straight away.
“But honestly, there’s not at all.
“(Talk of a split) might affect some boys, but for me I know there’s not one so it’s just outside noise.
“I know internally we’re doing just fine.”