Manly solve No.9 woes with ex-Kiwis hooker

Former Kiwis test hooker Danny Levi has been released by Newcastle to join NRL rivals Manly.
Former Kiwis test hooker Danny Levi has been released by Newcastle to join NRL rivals Manly.

Manly are believed to have solved their No.9 crisis by signing Newcastle hooker Danny Levi for the 2020 NRL season.

The former New Zealand international was released from his contract with Newcastle Knights on Tuesday afternoon and will begin life under Des Hasler this week.

While Manly have yet to confirm the news, it spells the end of 18-months of uncertainty for the 24-year-old who was replaced by Jayden Brailey at the Knights after falling out of favour with former coach Nathan Brown.

His arrival at Manly has been expected for most of the pre-season, and was all-but confirmed when he did not appear in the Knights' 2020 team photo last week.

In an interview with News Corp, Levi said he believes he can be one of the best hookers in the game and is excited for a chance to prove it at Manly.

"Not to be cocky but I've always though I was better than a lot of the hookers in the NRL but I thought I was never given a fair chance to show it. This will give me a fresh start," he said.

"I'm playing for a contract. Whether it's at Manly or somewhere else. They've got a really good team and are premiership contenders. For me to try and get into that team will be awesome."

Levi's arrival will solve a huge problem for the Sea Eagles, who were facing a crisis in their pack with no clear No.9 option for 2020.

Late last year the Sea Eagles released Api Koroisau to Penrith, while rising hooker Manese Fainu has been stood down indefinitely by the NRL while facing charges relating to an alleged stabbing.

It left Hasler with inexperienced duo Cade Cust or Lachlan Croker to chose from to start at dummy half.

It now appears as though Levi will be first-choice hooker come round one against Melbourne on March 15.

Levi made his NRL debut with the Knights in 2015 and has played 83 NRL games to date, as well as four Tests for New Zealand and one for Samoa.

Australian Associated Press