Newcastle Knights officials have received assurances from the NRL that they will not breach salary cap regulations if rookie centre Siuatonga Likiliki plays in tonight’s crucial clash with Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.
Likiliki is on standby for veteran Adam MacDougall, who has a knee problem, and travelled to Sydney yesterday as part of Newcastle’s extended squad.
The 21-year-old joined the Knights from the New Zealand Warriors at the end of last year amid expectations that he would establish himself as an NRL regular this season.
But after being sidelined early in the year with a knee injury, he has been confined to Newcastle’s NSW Cup feeder team, the Central Coast Centurions.
There were concerns yesterday that if Likiliki was called up tonight Newcastle’s second-tier salary cap would come under scrutiny.
But an NRL spokesman said the Knights had applied successfully for dispensation.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said Likiliki would not have been considered for selection had dispensation not been granted.
The NRL took into account Newcastle’s injury toll before extending them some leeway.