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Walters baulks at Knights' NRL coach terms

While Kevin Walters might not be interested in replacing Nathan Brown at Newcastle, the Queensland mentor admits he would have baulked at the NRL club's unique coach contract terms.

Walters said he was surprised by the timing of the club's announcement that Brown would be leaving at season's end with three-regular season rounds left and the Knights still in finals contention.

He was quick to rule himself out of the running for the gig. But there is no shortage of contenders with Sydney Roosters assistants Craig Fitzgibbon and Adam O'Brien expected to top the list.

However, Walters admitted the Knights' coaching contract terms would not have appealed to him.

Brown last year signed a NRL-first open-ended, performance-based contract. It's believed those terms will be offered again to his successor.

"Would I sign a contract like that? I think it's difficult to go ahead and say so because so many things fluctuate throughout the season with injuries, suspensions - all these issues come up," Walters told Fox Sport's NRL Tonight program.

"I think you need to be judged fairly over 12 months to two years. That's how I feel about things.

"(But) certainly, the Newcastle appointment would be a great opportunity for someone who is interested."

Walters was left scratching his head over the announcement's timing, with the 10th-placed Knights just one win outside the eight and three games still to go before the finals.

"I would've thought maybe at the end of the season would've been a good time to make the decision," he said.

"If they can make the eight, I'm sure they can make some good inroads into September."

However, it is understood the issue came to a head last Friday when Brown reportedly heard the Knights' hierarchy had already spoken to two coaches behind the scenes about starting in 2020.

It is believed Brown spoke with Knights CEO Philip Gardner on Monday night when the decision was made to part at season's end by "mutual agreement".

Fitzgibbon and O'Brien are the hot favourites but other possibilities include former Penrith coach Anthony Griffin, Trent Barrett, ex-Canberra mentor David Furner, Manly great Geoff Toovey and Melbourne assistant Jason Ryles.

Brown had been rebuilding the Knights since taking over in 2016.

Newcastle finished with the wooden spoon in his first two seasons before placing 11th last year.

The Knights were expected to be finals contenders in 2019 after a recruitment drive and looked to be living up to their potential when they cracked the top four after round 11.

But a recent six-game losing streak appears to have been the catalyst for Brown's exit.

He had been linked to a return to England and St Helens - where he won the 2014 Super League title.

But the Saints on Tuesday night said it was "unlikely" they would pursue Brown for 2020 despite seeking a replacement for Gold Coast-bound Justin Holbrook.

© AAP 2019