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Knights consider return to normal contract

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Newcastle could move away from keeping their open-ended contracts for coaches as they weigh up their options to replace Nathan Brown.

Brown was last year signed on an NRL-first performance-based open-ended contract, which could be ended at either time by either party with minimum payout.

The terms themselves were questioned by Kevin Walters earlier this week, who admitted he would have baulked the deal if he was interested and approached.

But Knights chief executive Philip Gardner said there was no guarantee a similar deal would be put to Brown's successor.

"It will depend on the coach and where we sit," Gardner said.

"Browny is a unique individual, it was a unique situation. It was a unique contract. We will negotiate that with any coaches."

Brown defended the deal on Wednesday, as he insisted it did not lead to his departure.

A key component regarded the Knights improvement each season, and Newcastle have already won as many matches as last year with three still to play.

"This decision is not based on the contract. I've achieved what I had to achieve this year in my contract. Phil will tell you that," Brown said.

"What I needed to achieve we have already gone better than last year. So it's got nothing to do with that. It could have been a four or five-year contract.

"Dessie (Hasler) signed a new two-year one at Canterbury for about $1 million a year (in 2017) and got the chop not long later.

"What matters is the relationship you have with the boss and the honesty you have with each other. And your integrity."

Who receives the next contract for Newcastle will be decided over the next month.

Sydney Roosters assistant Adam O'Brien remains the front runner, after Craig Fitzgibbon pulled out of the race on Wednesday.

Jason Ryles is another favourite, while Jim Dymock, Kristian Woolf, Jason Demetriou, Garth Brennan, Dave Furner and Cameron Ciraldo are other options.

© AAP 2019