The Knights' chances of beating the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium today have been dealt a blow with their State of Origin second rower Beau Scott ruled out.
Scott's body took too much of a pounding in New South Wales' 12-8 win over Queensland on Wednesday night and Knights captain Kurt Gidley confirmed to Sunday News he won't play.
"Beau is out unfortunately," Gidley said yesterday. "He's had a few knocks from that game and he's been carrying a couple of things for a while, so unfortunately he's out."
The Knights' other State of Origin player, Darius Boyd sat out a large part of their training session at Ellerslie Rugby League Club yesterday and had strapping put around the lower part of his back. However, the word from inside the team is that he has a corked back and should still be able to play.
Boyd, had his best game of the season on Wednesday, scoring both the Maroons' tries and Gidley hopes he has a similar impact today, even if his body isn't 100%.
"Everyone has seen how physical the Origin game was and how demanding it was on their bodies," he said.
"You'll see this weekend, this is probably the least amount of players who are backing up after Origin footy and that's fair enough.
"They were all exhausted at the end of it and Darius had a great game, Beau had a fantastic game, so our two guys did well and Darius is right to back up, so hopefully he'll get a couple more tries like he did on Wednesday night."
While the Knights are on a four-game losing streak, they came desperately close to beating the Sea Eagles in their last outing, eventually going down to a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal in the 80th minute.
It was a cruel loss for Gidley and the Knights, but he believes they can take momentum from that game into today's encounter.
"Emotionally it was pretty draining because everyone said we were the better team on the night," Gidley said.
"Manly didn't give up and that's why they're one of the best teams in the competition.
"They beat us right on the last play, but we probably had one of our best games this year with the way we defended and the desire we showed. We need to keep taking a step forward.
"We certainly can't take a step backwards after that game. We'll take some positives out of that and put them into this game."
It has been a miserable time all round for the Knights recently. Not only have they not seen a win in over a month, there's a dispute over the ownership of the club between Hunter Sports Group and the Knights Member Club, which resulted in players' wages not being paid on time recently.
Gidley, who was born in Newcastle and has only ever played for the Knights, is concerned about what's going on, but says he and his team-mates have to stay focused on the field.
"We're paid to play footy, we're professional athletes and it's what we do," he said.
"I'm a Newcastle boy through and through, so I'm obviously concerned and interested in where the club goes, but at the end of the day when I train or play for the team all of those exterior things happening with the club aren't on my mind at all.
"Obviously it would be nice to get it finalised so it's out of the media, but until that happens we've got to keep trying to improve in training and playing."
- Sunday News
Who is your pick for international league player of the year?Related story: (See story)