Newcastle tried to offload Canberra signing Joseph Tapine to the Sydney Roosters as the contractual saga took a bizarre twist.
The Rugby League Players Association and the NRL are set to intervene while Tapine and the Knights are at loggerheads after the forward signed a three-year Canberra deal that comes into effect from next season.
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It's understood the Knights floated the prospect of an immediate release, but only if Tapine joined the Roosters. That move would give the Roosters forwards cover, particularly while representative forward Boyd Cordner recovers from an injury that could sideline him for several months.
However, Tapine doesn't want to be at three clubs in the space of eight months and is hopeful of gaining an early release to head to the nation's capital.
Tapine's manager, Jim Banaghan, claims the club is holding up an early release and has "banished" his client from training with the top squad. Ironically, the Knights face the Raiders in a trial at Orange on Saturday and Tapine has been overlooked by the incumbent club.
Banaghan said he was frustrated the Knights haven't allowed Tapine to join Canberra. "Successful clubs do not need to bully or intimidate players to stay or punish those who wish to leave," he said.
"There is a reason Newcastle is in the NRL infirmary and this is a further reason why they will be staying there. We are all very disappointed at what is perceived as a lack of professionalism by the club in handling this matter. It doesn't reflect well on them in the player marketplace at all."