Roosters forward Dylan Napa has been linked to the Newcastle Knights.
Roosters forward Dylan Napa has been linked to the Newcastle Knights. DEAN LEWINS

Is Napa the one to net Pearce for Knights?

RUGBY LEAGUE: Newcastle's 2018 roster already contains plenty of ex-Roosters but they may yet add one more to help convince free agent Mitchell Pearce he should join the Knights.

It is being reported that Queensland firebrand Dylan Napa is on Newcastle's radar and would be used as bait to lure his good mate Pearce.

Napa is contracted to the Roosters until the end of 2019 but according to reports he could be a candidate for an early release to help free up more room under the salary cap as the Tricolours chase Rabbitohs young gun Angus Crichton.

Napa is good friends with Pearce, with the pair recently catching up in New York.

Dylan Napa of the Queensland Maroons (left) icomes against Mitchell Pearce of the NSW Blues during Game one of the State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Dylan Napa gets ready to run over former Roosters teammate Mitchell Pearce duirng this year's State of Origin series. DAN PELED

According to the report, Pearce's manager Steve Gillis, who also manages Napa, is due to meet with the Knights this week when Phil Gardner, the boss of the powerful Wests Group that now owns the Knights, returns from business in New Zealand.

Pearce met with Nathan Brown in Newcastle last Friday and it is understood he went home impressed with the coach's vision for the future.

Newcastle are right in the mix for Pearce's signature, with Manly and Cronulla the other two clubs fighting it out.

The Knights are in the best financial position to do the deal, although early reports suggested Pearce was reluctant to move away from Sydney.

Meanwhile, a New York-based franchise aiming to break into the UK rugby league competition and eventually play in the Super League is firming up its bid and preparing some serious offers for NRL stars, including Jarryd Hayne.

Reports on indicate the New York City rugby league franchise will boast $52 million in funding over the initial three years of its existence.