Norman to Dragons heats up as Knights snare Mann
St George Illawarra's pursuit of Corey Norman remains up in the air despite the immediate release of Kurt Mann to Newcastle.
It is understood the Knights will on Monday announce the signing of the tough 25-year-old utility on a three-year deal, with Mann expected to get first crack at playing hooker in 2019.
The Dragons have maintained that they would not release Mann until they found a suitable replacement.
But as it stands the difference between Norman's $940,000 salary at the Eels for next year and what the Dragons can afford to pay him are too extreme.
One of the parties will need to budge considerably to make it happen.
The Dragons have also made it known that they have no intention of moving young fullback Matt Dufty, who is actually in talks to extend his contract at the club.
But Norman would still prove an ideal pick up given recent developments surrounding skipper Gareth Widdop's future at the club.
Widdop has indicated he wants to finish his career in the English Super League and 2019 is likely to be his final year in Australia.
Norman would be an ideal replacement at five-eighth, with Widdop potentially moving to fullback for next season, a position he excelled at while playing for England.
There has been some speculation the Dragons could also be interested in signing South Sydney's Alex Johnston.
Johnston has made it known that he wants to play fullback at the Rabbitohs.
But he would be hard pressed holding out Greg Inglis if the champion Queenslander decides he wants to wear the No 1 jumper in 2019.
So far the Dragons have denied Johnston is on their radar, but the interest in Norman is genuine.
Mann's arrival at Newcastle will again raise questions about Danny Levi's future.
The former New Zealand Test hooker has been on the out with coach Nathan Brown for some time and even with Slade Griffin injured Brown still sought out Mann despite the fact he had never played regular dummy half.
Levi has received interest from both Wests Tigers and Parramatta.