Cowboys prop Matt Scott.
Cowboys prop Matt Scott. DAVE HUNT

Great Scott, he's serious about becoming a Knight

RUGBY LEAGUE: During his first four years as Cowboys football manager, Peter Parr presided over a playing roster that won just 38 of 101 games played.

Now, as he fights off yet another raid on his troops from the cashed-up Newcastle Knights, he can empathise with the struggling club. He appreciates the frustrations of attracting class players, and often having to pay overs.

Parr believes the turning point in the fortunes of the Cowboys came in 2004, when they secured a young bloke with a bag of potential and a big, strong, hard-running forward who had been around the traps for a while. Enter Johnathan Thurston and Paul Rauhihi.

The next season - 2005 - the Cowboys won 16 games and went all the way to the grand final. Thurston made 26 of a possible 28 appearances, as did Rauhihi. They didn't do it all themselves obviously, but both made a massive difference.

And that is why Parr is more than a little worried about the chances of the Cowboys retaining their whole-hearted prop Matt Scott beyond this season. The Knights are on the prowl and have already signed their version of Thurston in Kalyn Ponga, and Scott may well be their Rauhihi. And last year they grabbed Rory Kostjasyn, a more-than-handy utility.

Scott, at 31, is arguably on the downward slide of his career, but he could still be the glue that holds together a young, raw but talented group of forwards at Newcastle - as Rauhihi did when he hit Townsville. The downside, however, is that 13 seasons playing the toughest position on the field has left him a legacy of nagging and persistent injuries.

I must admit that when rumours first surfaced that Scott may leave the high-flying Cowboys for the struggling Knights, my reaction was "yeah, sure". But then I didn't think Ben Hunt would leave the Broncos either.

Money, without doubt, is the modern-day sporting barometer.

If the rumours can be believed, Scott is seeking a three-year contract, which would almost certainly see out his career. The Knights - apparently - have tabled the Test and Origin veteran a two-year deal worth $1.6 million, but Scott's management supposedly wants $2.5 million for three years.

Bemused Cowboys fans are certainly entitled to ask why would Matt Scott leave Townsville?

He and his wife Lauren have just had their second child, her parents are based in Townsville and the bloke they call Thumper has never lived outside North Queensland. Add to that the fact the Knights are once again raging favourites for their third successive wooden spoon and still face an uncertain future, and the word "why" becomes even more significant.

Conversely, he has finally won that elusive first premiership for the Cowboys, his great mate and co-captain Thurston has declared that 2018 will be his last season, fellow Test prop James Tamou has already departed and boom youngster Jason Taumalolo is toying with an NFL career.

Just maybe, Scott feels a change of scenery, and the money that goes with it, could be an elixir.

News Corp Australia

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