Knights' utility Simi Sasagi is set to miss a large part of the first half of Newcastle's 2023 campaign after requiring a full shoulder reconstruction.
The 21 year-old, who played in 14 of Newcastle's 24 games in 2022, injured his left shoulder in recent weeks during the start of pre-season, leaving the utility requiring full reconstructive surgery on the shoulder, according to The Newcastle Herald.
The New Zealand prospect made his NRL debut in late 2021 in the centres, however at the time, Sasagi was considered a long-term prospect at five-eighth for the club, who have since moved the utility into lock forward as the times keep changing.
Provided there's no further setbacks, a shoulder reconstruction carries a return-to-play timeframe of six months, which would leave Sasagi to return to the playing field shortly before the Origin period kick-starts.
A reshuffled Newcastle line-up, including a Kalyn Ponga transition from fullback to five-eighth, had the youngster in calculations for a spot in Newcastle's back-line, however the setback will likely see the 21 year-old fall down the pecking order.
Kurt Mann, who was looking likely to be the odd-man-out of the Knights' 17, will likely be the man to replace Sasagi in the side, who welcome recruits Jack Hetherington, Adam Elliott and Tyson Gamble to the fold alongside Hastings.
Recently re-signing with Newcastle through to the end of 2024, the utility appears to be in Adam O'Briens' plans moving forward as the club looks to move back into the top eight next season.