Knights centre Jesse Ramien.

Jesse Ramien is on his way out of Newcastle, with the centre given permission to negotiate with clubs immediately.

Ramien’s management have been in discussions with the Knights over the past 48 hours and is now free to negotiate elsewhere.

He’s not expected to play for the Knights again, and is unlikely to be around training.

Ramien has been unhappy at the Knights for some time, with coach Nathan Brown on Wednesday night deciding enough was enough.

The talented centre only joined the Knights from the Sharks this year, but hasn’t hit the heights the club hoped he would.

He was dropped to the Canterbury Cup this week after Newcastle's loss to the Wests Tigers last Friday.

The Knights and Ramien’s manager came to an agreement on Wednesday night.

Newcastle have released a statement: "These talks were mutual and the Knights have given Ramien’s management approval to negotiate. The Knights wish him all the best."

He is contracted to Newcastle until the end of 2020 but won't be able to play for another NRL club this season due to the June 30 signings deadline. 

A stint in Super League for the rest of this year is still an option but Ramien needs to act fast to cut a deal if he wants to explore that possibility - the signings deadline in the UK is next Friday.

Eels stand firm on Welch offer

It’s no secret Parramatta are after Melbourne's Queensland prop Christian Welch next season.

However the first offer they recently put to him has been rejected, with the forward looking for in excess of $500,000 a season.

Under new management, the Eels have shown they won’t pay more than what they want to - as was evident in the protracted negotiations with skipper Clint Gutherson.

Also a factor in what they offer Welch is their recent interest in Panthers forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard. The club has identified the front row position as their priority and are willing to pay around $600,000-$700,000 for Campbell-Gillard.

However he is on a deal with the Panthers worth around $900,000 for five more years, leaving Penrith to cover the gap.

While Penrith have previously discussed the idea of releasing the former international, they now find themselves in finals contention and don’t want this to become a distraction, especially given Campbell-Gillard’s improved form over the last month.

Rumblings about recruit

There are rumblings out of a Sydney club about an in-form recruit struggling to get along with the coach.

Other clubs are aware of the situation and are monitoring it closely in case the player wants a fresh start next year. The issue is believed to stem from some choice words aimed at the player from the coach in front of the team.

Lichaa looks at Sharks return 

The departure of Jayden Brailey to Newcastle next season could open the door for a local junior to return to the club next year.

Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa, who is unwanted by Canterbury for 2020, is in discussions with the Sharks about potentially returning home as the back-up option to Blayke Brailey next year.

Lichaa, who has notched 111 games since his debut in 2014, has impressed in his stints for the Bulldogs this year, showing he still has what it takes to compete in the NRL.

Finals race to go down to wire

The NRL has hit the jackpot when it comes to its schedule for the final round of the season.

Quite often the top eight is all but sorted by the time the last round rolls around, however the schedule has a number of mouth-watering clashes leading into the finals that is sure to get fans through the gates.

The Rabbitohs (2nd) and Roosters (3rd) clash on Thursday, September 5 in a match that is likely to determine who gets a home final the following week in what could be the first of two consecutive games between the traditional rivals.

The following night the Eels (6th) and Sea Eagles (5th), also long-standing rivals, square off at Bankwest Stadium in a match that could have top-four implications or at the very least determine home finals in week one.

Then on Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval, Wests the Tigers and Sharks, who both find themselves one point outside the top eight, will battle it out in what could potentially be Robbie Farah or Paul Gallen’s last game in the NRL.

Then to close out the round, the Panthers (7th) and Knights (9th) are set to be fighting for a top-eight berth at Panthers Stadium.

Gagai off training after head knock

Dane Gagai hasn’t trained with South Sydney this week. He’s been undergoing concussion protocols for an incident against the Dragons last week.

After the game, Gagai was struggling with memory of the match so Souths officials have proceeded cautiously with the Maroons winger to ensure he is right for Saturday's clash with the Sharks at Cronulla.

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.