The Newcastle Knights sit on the bottom of the NRL ladder, winning just one game from seven so far in 2017.

Newcastle claimed the wooden spoon last season and hasn't played finals since 2013, as part of one of the bleakest periods in the club's history.

Coach Nathan Brown has been on a rebuilding mission since taking on the top job in the Hunter and the Knights have been making moves off-field to ensure they are competitive in future seasons.

The Knights have been linked to a host of off-contract talent, but club legend Danny Buderus believes there's one player on the open market that will be the difference for the struggling club.

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"Kieran Foran is someone that would suit the team down to the ground," Buderus told NRL 360.

"A lot of the young boys just need to know how to do it week in, week out. The team needs some structure around it and someone like Kieran would be ideal.

"Nathan met with Kieran on Sunday and the message Browny is trying to portray is that this club is a family club and it is on the way up."

Newcastle missed out on signing Cronulla utility Jack Bird last week, as Bird opted to join the Brisbane Broncos instead.

But Buderus says the Knights need to land one big scalp and the rest will fall into place.

"Jack didn't realise that if he signed, a lot of big name players would come," Buderus explained.

"But you need to go after a hard head as well - James Graham would be perfect and Ben Matulino is in talks as well."

Newcastle has already captured the signature of one of the bright young talents that makes up generation next in North Queensland Cowboys rookie Kalyn Ponga.

Ponga inked a deal around $600,000-a-year, but Buderus says that money alone isn't the only reason the Cowboys star is moving to the Hunter.

"Kalyn hasn't come for the reasons people think," Buderus said.

"He has come for the belief and the vision that Nathan put in place. So we have one of the great up and comers at our club."