Knights dan­gle mas­sive pay­day

The Weekend Post - - Sport - PETER BADEL & RIKKI-LEE ARNOLD

MATT Scott is seek­ing a $2.5 mil­lion pay­day and will tour New­cas­tle’s set-up in the strong­est sign yet the Ma­roons en­forcer is con­sid­er­ing quit­ting the Cow­boys.

The off-con­tract star has been for­mally in­vited to visit New­cas­tle head­quar­ters as the Knights hi­er­ar­chy pre­pare to ta­ble a big-money deal for the Ma­roons prop.

Scott will face the Roost­ers in a pre-sea­son trial tonight in Mackay, but his long-term fu­ture in Townsville is uncer­tain as the em­bat­tled Knights up the ante for his sig­na­ture af­ter hav­ing al­ready stolen Cow­boys young gun Ka­lyn Ponga for 2018.

Knights coach Nathan Brown was hop­ing to meet Scott this week for for­mal talks. The Cow­boys book­end de­layed the trip, with his heav­ily preg­nant wife set to give birth to their sec­ond child.

But the fact Scott is in­ter­ested in vis­it­ing the Knights is ev­i­dence the Test front-rower will ex­plore ev­ery op­tion as he mulls over the fi­nal con­tract of his dec­o­rated NRL ca­reer.

Scott’s man­age­ment is seek­ing $2.5 mil­lion over three years. The Knights have yet to ta­ble a for­mal of­fer but have dis­cussed a two-year deal worth $800,000 an­nu­ally, with the pos­si­bil­ity of an op­tion for a third sea­son in 2020.

It is un­der­stood the Cow­boys’ two-year pack­age, which in­cludes an op­tion in the club’s favour for 2019, is worth around $1.2 mil­lion.

That means Scott, who turns 32 in July, stands to sac­ri­fice around $1 mil­lion if he opts to stay loyal to the Cow­boys.

One con­cern for the Knights is Scott’s his­tory with back and neck in­juries. But New­cas­tle are con­fi­dent club medico Tony Ay­oub, who has worked with Scott in Aus­tralian teams, can man­age his body for at least an­other two years.

Ma­roons skip­per Cameron Smith fielded a mas­sive of­fer from the Bron­cos two years ago, only to stay loyal to Mel­bourne, and urged his Ori­gin en­gine-room co­hort to con­sider his op­tions.

“It would be ideal to fin­ish as a one-club player, but he’s got a young fam­ily and he’s got his sec­ond child on the way,” Smith said.

“If he’s get­ting of­fers from other clubs sig­nif­i­cantly higher than what the Cow­boys are of­fer­ing then I don’t see why he can’t look at that.

“I don’t think any player would be­grudge him for mak­ing the de­ci­sions to change clubs.

“I think he’d love to stay a one-club player, there’s no doubt about that. But you do have to look af­ter your­self first.

“The game is a busi­ness, clubs look af­ter their best in­ter­ests as well and Scotty will do the same. I hope it all pans out for him.”

OFF-CON­TRACT: Matt Scott.

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