KAI PEARCE-PAUL will be a Newcastle Knights player in 2024 – that much is true.
After bursting onto the scene with the Wigan Warriors towards the back end of the 2021 Super League season, Pearce-Paul has transformed into one of the most sought-after back-rowers in the game.
The Londoner’s rise has been meteoric, epitomised by his inclusion in Shaun Wane’s England squad for the recent Rugby League World Cup, but his signing for the Knights is a major loss to Super League.
Pearce-Paul reportedly met with Newcastle recruitment chief Clint Zammit earlier in the year, but there were also two other clubs that were keen on bringing the rangy forward to their respective clubs.
Those two clubs were, according to the Daily Telegraph, the Dolphins and the Canterbury Bulldogs with Pearce-Paul meeting with both Dolphins boss Wayne Bennett and Canterbury’s General Manager, Phil Gould.
Instead, the 21-year-old chose to sign for the Knights, where his friend and fellow England international Dom Young currently resides with Huddersfield Giants star Will Pryce set to join up as well for 2024.
“I spoke to Wayne — he is a great guy as well,” Pearce-Paul told the Daily Telegraph.
“He was very straight forward — he tells you exactly how it is and what he wants. I appreciate that in a person.
“It was interesting talking to Wayne and someone of his calibre. I spoke to (Dolphins recruitment guru Peter) O’Sullivan as well. It wasn’t easy deciding. It was quite late that I came to the final decisions.
“I was really stuck. All the options were really good options and I am really appreciative to have people of that calibre and experience in the sport wanting me.
“I was hard to choose.”
Then along came Gould of the Bulldogs.
“He was pretty similar to Wayne,” Pearce-Paul said.
“He was pretty old school and tells you what he wants.”