Newcastle is set to enter their Round 2 clash against the Wests Tigers without the services of their superstar fullback Kalyn Ponga.
While this announcement is sure to have Tigers players, fans and officials breathing a mighty sigh of relief, the Knights' momentum built during their boilover win against the Roosters last Saturday could well come to an even larger halt.
According to reports from The Daily Telegraph's Dave Riccio, the 23-year-old sustained a knee knock during the Hunter club's 20-6 win at the Sydney Cricket Ground and will not lace the boots on Sunday afternoon.
“In a huge blow, Kalyn Ponga is out with a knee injury,” Riccio revealed on Triple M radio.
“Coach Adam O’Brien has confirmed it, he has not recovered in time for the game. This is a big loss for the Knights. Tex Hoy is the man to replace him.”
After running for 167-metres and completing a pair of offloads in the Knights' season opener, Ponga was commanding at the back.
And given Hoy failed to suit up against the Chooks in Round 1, the 17-gamer will be relying heavily on the support of Dane Gagai, Bradman Best and burgeoning winger, Dominic Young on both sides of the ball.
While Ponga's absence is sure to have piqued panic within Newcastle's inner and outer sanctums, reports suggest that the Origin representative is in line to return for the team's Round 3 fixture against the Panthers in Bathurst next Saturday afternoon.
In a further boost, Penrith's head coach claimed that his son and star half Nathan Cleary was a near certainty not to make the trip for the country clash, with representative pair Brian To'o (knee) and James Fisher-Harris (shoulder) also in doubt.
Kick-off in the Knights, Tigers battle is scheduled for 4:05 pm on Sunday afternoon.