Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown does not know whether or not fullback Kalyn Ponga and five-eighth Connor Watson will overcome ankle injuries to play in this Friday night’s game against the Cowboys.
Both players travelled with the team to Townsville on Wednesday but would need to get through a training session on Thursday to be deemed available for the upcoming game.
“I’m not playing any games, I’m not too sure if he’ll (Ponga) play or not,” Brown told newcastleknights.com.au on Wednesday.
“He and Connor will both have a run tomorrow (Thursday).
“KP’s hamstring is fine. He’s had three good sessions so his hamstring is fine (but) he actually hurt his ankle yesterday (Tuesday) which is the honest truth of it.
“How he goes, I don’t really know and Connor hasn’t trained yet.
“He’s got a bit of a problem too.”
The Knights have brought youngsters Nick Meaney and Jake Cogger on the trip for standby duty in the event that Ponga or Watson can’t get up.
“They’ll try and do captains run. If they come through well, they’ll play, if not we’ve got Nick Meaney here for KP who has obviously played the last two games and improved on both performances,” Brown said.
“Jack Cogger’s here if Connor’s no good.
“We’d like them both to play but if we got one, we’d probably be pretty lucky.”
If Ponga plays it would be his first game against his former club, and Brown emphasised how it would be a great opportunity for the 20-year old.
“I think he’s (Ponga) excited to play for a number of reasons,” Brown said.
“Obviously he has an affiliation, a bit of history with the club. Being JT’s last game (against the Knights). Anyone who has played against JT for a fair period of time understands the respect he’s got in the game. The fact it’s going to be the last time he plays the Knights, that probably holds a bit of significance to KP.
“You see the way he gets treated at the end of each game shows how well he’s thought of. I think KP is keen to play every game but there’s numbers of reasons which makes him keen to play this week.”