Newcastle will be without Bradman Best for at least a month, although it’s a better-than-expected injury outlook for the Knights centre after he dislocated his elbow last weekend.
Best’s elbow has incurred some ligament damage, but with no fracture should be back on the park in no more than six weeks, and Knights coach Adam O’Brien didn’t write off the 20-year-old’s ability to get back before then.
“Bradman doesn’t know the meaning of pain, so every time you ask how it is he says ‘good’,” O’Brien told reporters.
“Fortunately the elbow went back in quite quickly, it was always a good sign that doesn’t require surgery.
“It could be anywhere from four to the sort of six-week mark but Bradman being Bradman, nothing will surprise me if it’s sooner.”
Other injury news will see Adam Clune miss Saturday’s match with a knee complaint he’s been nursing for most of the season.
Instead of again pushing through the pain barrier, the Knights opted to rest the halfback ahead of next week’s bye and play Jake Clifford after strong form at NSW Cup level.
“The management of Adam’s knee is still not where we need, it’s still popping up in game and in training, it’s giving him a little bit of grief,” O’Brien said.
“There’s a bye next week so there’s an extended period now … we can give him two or three weeks to really settle it.
“Jake’s form in the New South Wales Cup last week, I thought he done a good job … he played himself back into the team.”
The updates come ahead of an important clash for Newcastle, where they’ll head to Redcliffe to face the Warriors just two games outside the eight despite sitting 15th on the table.
The situation reminded O’Brien of last season where the Knights were 5-9 and 14th after round 14, before storming home to reach finals.
“There is some congestion there, two games with a couple of results going your way can slide you back into that eight,” he said.
“Whether or not we deserve to be there right now, certainly there’s enough footy in front of us to get there.
“We’ve faced every single top-eight team this year, some consecutively and some without a lot of personnel.
“We don’t have that excuse now, we’ve got personnel coming back and I certainly think there’s enough footy to be played to get ourselves into that finals campaign.”