KNIGHTS chief executive Matt Gidley believes Wayne Bennett is the right coach and Newcastle is the right place to bring the best out of Sydney Roosters discard Joseph ''BJ'' Leilua.
The 21-year-old outside back, who was named in the NSW Emerging Origin squad on Saturday for the second year, is believed to be on the verge of signing a two-year deal with the Knights after he was sacked by the Roosters on Tuesday with two years left on his contract.
Gidley said the Knights were in negotiations with Leilua's manager but had yet to finalise a deal and would not be in a position to sign him until the ARL Commission confirmed an increase in next year's salary cap.
He believed the Knights were one of several clubs Leilua's manager had spoken to.
''Once we became aware he could be coming on the market, we said we would look into it, as we would with any player coming on the market unexpectedly, particularly with the cap going up a little bit next year,'' Gidley said.
''Everyone was pretty much budgeting on a $5 million cap, so if there's more room now, given the CBA discussions and an agreement in principle to increase the base cap to $5.15 million, there might be an opportunity there, whether it's BJ Leilua or whoever comes on the market.
''They're talking about $5.15 million as the base cap for next year, with other opportunities for players through marquee player allowances and the like.''
If Leilua does join the Knights, Gidley believed the improved behaviour of former bad boys Willie Mason and Dane Gagai since joining the club was proof Newcastle could help the centre turn his career around.
''I can only speak on behalf of the guys that have come to our club, and the most recent ones are Willie and Dane who have had a few minor issues in the past but they've been outstanding for us,'' he said. ''They haven't put a foot wrong.''