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Depth Chart: Who's in the hunt in halves race

The nib Newcastle Knights are blessed with options for 2021.

In the lead-up to the new season, will look over the depth of the squad and break down the positional options at the disposal of the coaching staff.

Today we take a look at the halves contenders.

With Mitchell Pearce in charge at No.7, Adam O'Brien will be stoked with his options for the No.6 jumper in 2021.

Note: These depth charts are the opinion of and have no input from the coaching staff.

Mitchell Pearce

He's one of our most valuable players.

An Origin series winner with a premiership to his name, Pearce has almost ticked off all you can do in rugby league with game 300 in sight in 2021.

His exceptional kicking game and classy playmaking will go a long way to any success the Club has this year.

Barring injury or suspension, Pearce should be one of the first names on the team sheet in 2021.

Blake Green

He may've only played two (and a half) games, but Blake Green's influence was truly felt in 2020.

The Knights scored 70 points with Green at pivot, releasing the pressure on Pearce and Ponga to steer the team around.

His ACL injury was a major turning point in the 2020 season, and his return to the side next year will be one fans will be looking forward to seeing.

The crafty No.6 will miss the opening few rounds of the 2021 season, potentially leaving the door ajar for a number of competitors to snatch the jersey and make it their own.

Kurt Mann

There's no denying Mann was one of the Knights' best last year, coming in second in the Danny Buderus Medal count after a career-best season.

He spent the majority of the year at No.6, and continued to improve when he was shifted to the hooking role to cover for the injury crisis in that position.

Mann will be training hard over the course of the pre-season in an effort to get first crack at the jersey he made his own last year.

Tex Hoy

One of the surprise packets of 2020, Hoy rocketed into contention for the No.6 jersey after a stunning run of form in the Perth Nines and trial games against the Dragons and Roosters.

Hoy filled in a number of positions in 2020, however he looked most at home at fullback or five-eighth.

A hamstring injury prevented him from nailing down the jumper late in the season.

Phoenix Crossland

He caught the eye of O'Brien last season, playing seven games off the bench in 2020.

Crossland was even considered the front runner early last pre-season for the No.6, however an injury setback opened the door for Kurt Mann.

The 20-year-old has a real opportunity stamp his name in the starting lineup with a strong pre-season.

He’s a crafty halfback with a strong work ethic on the training paddock so look for Crossland to push for his name to be on the starting sheet come Round 1. 

Connor Watson

While Watson is gunning for a spot in the forwards this year, his versatility means if a crisis were to strike, he would be a viable option in the halves in 2021.

Watson came through the junior grades at the Roosters as a No.6, so definitely wouldn't be out of place should he be called upon at any stage next year.

Kalyn Ponga

It was an experiment which didn’t quite work for the Knights in 2019, and Ponga found himself back in the fullback position by Round 4.

But after Ponga’s off season, it’s definitely an option for the Coach in 2021.    

He showed the rugby league world that he has a future in the No.6 jersey when he starred for the Junior Kangaroos as a pivot.

Ponga set up four tries in their 62-4 win against France and looked at home in the halves.

Simi Sasagi

A youngster with plenty of potential.

While he didn't play much football in 2020 due to the pandemic, Sasagi impressed hugely in the scrimmage games.

An exciting five-eighth with a strong work ethic, Sasagi made his Jersey Flegg debut in 2019 and ran riot, scoring four tries in 35 minutes.

He’s one for the future to keep an eye on.

Pearce: Return, contract rumours and Brailey influence