NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Daniel Saifiti of the Knights looks dejected after losing to the Rabbitohs during the round three NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Daniel Saifiti's form was the main talking point regarding State of Origin selection heading into Saturday's clash with the Newcastle Knights, but it's a knee injury which will ultimately keep him out of the series opener.

Saifiti was thought to be in a battle to hold onto his Origin jumper from last year given a poor start to the season.

He has been challenged in particular by Parramatta duo Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Ryan Matterson, who now both could fight for a spot in Brad Fittler's side.

Saifiti, who started Saturday afternoon's game against the New Zealand Warriors in Redcliffe, played a 23-minute opening stint, but made just a single run for seven metres.

It continues a run of form which has barely got off the starting line all year for Saifiti, averaging just 111 metres per game, making only four tackle busts and eight offloads in nine appearances.

In the same 23-minute time period to start Saturday's clash, teammate David Klemmer - who has made another case for his own return to the Origin arena - had made six runs, going on to finish the game with 76 minutes, making 135 metres, a tackle break, two offloads and 43 tackles.

Saifiti's miserable 23-minute stint to start the game ended with a knee injury, which the club have confirmed they are expecting to be either a Grade 1 or 2 medial ligament strain.

It's likely to keep Saifiti out for at least two weeks, but potentially as many as four. The Knights have the bye next week, which will mean he will miss one less game, however a clash against the Penrith Panthers in Round 14 - with Origin players on a four-day turnaround - is unlikely to feature Saifiti.

It means brother Jacob Saifiti is most likely to come into the team, and even without injury, Daniel may have had a case to answer at the judiciary given a high tackle in a try-scoring situation on Warriors star Shaun Johnson.

Newcastle's desperate win over the Warriors on Saturday becomes their fourth of the season, taking them to eight competition points, and leaving them, for the time being at least, in 13th place on the NRL ladder.