Buhrer to let form negotiate new contract
JAMIE Buhrer has seven games left to put forward his case for contract renewal to the Newcastle powers that be. That starts Saturday afternoon when the Knights host the Gold Coast Titans.
Buhrer is off contract at the end of 2018 and is yet to re-sign with the club, where he says he hopes to stay.
As talks continue between the Knights and Buhrer's manager, the player knows it's his performances on-field where he can do his bit and he intends to do so when he comes off the bench on Saturday.
"(It's) not so much a point to prove, but just do everything I can to make sure that every performance I play is a good one for my team, make sure that I'm doing the right things so there's a reason to want me back essentially," Buhrer said.
"It's between myself and the club at the moment. That's where I stand. This is where I want to be and talks are ongoing."
Knights coach Nathan Brown said this week he expected the club would be able to sign a couple more forwards before the end of the season.
As well as Buhrer, experienced forward Chris Heighington is off contract as are young props JJ Felise and Tyrone Amey and lock Luke Yates.
While there are not many big name big men currently available for talks, the Knights could land someone in the same manner they did Mitchell Pearce last off-season when Cooper Cronk's arrival at the Roosters forced him to look elsewhere and ultimately ask for a release.
His arrival in the Hunter proves the difference a marquee player can make.
The Knights went through a slump while Pearce was sidelined with a pec injury, winning just two of nine games, but they returned to the winner's circle last week against Parramatta with their halfback back on the field.
Now Newcastle are out to go back to back, which they haven't done since round seven and eight with wins over Wests Tigers and Manly.
As other players return from injury and they near full-strength the team hopes they can finish the season with a run of good form.
"It certainly goes without saying that last week has been our best in a long time and that coincides with having Mitchell back, he's such an important part of our team, a leader on field and off the field," Buhrer said.
"Having him back helps a lot, getting Daniel Saifiti back, he's one of the forward leaders, he had a good game back and hopefully we'll get KP [Kalyn Ponga] back in the next couple of weeks.
"Those three have been key cogs to our season. Having them back for the run home is going to be great.
"It's important that we start stringing some good performances together to finish the year off."
In order to do that today, they need to control Gold Coast halfback Ash Taylor.
A player who can have as much impact on a game as Pearce can, the Knights know winning depends greatly on limiting Taylor's chances.
"You've got to put a fair bit of pressure on him," Buhrer said.
"Every team goes out to put a lot of heat on key playmakers regardless of what a team is. Ash is their go-to half, he likes to get his hands on the footy so we're going to have to make things hard for him.
"Whether that's putting a bit of heat on him and making him play a bit earlier than he usually would, kick pressure, things like that, general things that every team does, you've just got to do it consistently for 80 minutes."