THE NRL match-review panel have added insult to the injuries Newcastle suffered in Sunday's costly 18-12 loss to Canterbury at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The panel hit Knights prop David Klemmer on Monday with a grade-one contrary-conduct charge, which is likely to incur a fine.
It is understood the charge relates to 29th-minute incident in which Klemmer appeared to pull the hair of former Bulldogs teammate Raymond Faitala-Mariner in a tackle. The incident escaped the attention of referee Matt Cecchin.
If Klemmer accepts the charge, he will be fined $850. If he chooses to fight it at the judiciary and is unsuccessful, the fine will increase to $1150.
There is loading on the penalty because Klemmer was found guilty of contrary conduct in the last round of last season, when he directed an expletive at interchange official Andrew Alchin after being delayed as he tried to leave the field for an interchange.
While Knights coach Adam O'Brien queried the effort of his players after Sunday's upset loss, there could be no such complaint about Klemmer's contribution.
The Test prop played the full 80 minutes, grinding out 198 metres and attack and 57 tackles.
O'Brien faces a tough decision on Tuesday as he deals with Newcastle's hooker curse.
Andrew McCullough (hamstring) and Connor Watson (Achilles) suffered season-ending injuries against the Bulldogs, joining Jayden Brailey on the long-term injured list.
The only specialist hookers remaining on Newcastle's roster are rookies Chris Randall and Luke Huth.
Watson said the spate of injuries to hookers left the Knights "in a bit of a hole" and joked that perhaps the club should "retire" the No.9 jersey.
"To lose Macca and then me within 10 minutes, it's pretty tough," Watson said.
"The only real hookers we have are Chris Randall and Luke Huth.
"Randy has played one game of first grade and Huthy hasn't played any yet ... [but] I certainly think if they're called upon to do the job, they'll do it well."
O'Brien may also consider using versatile Kurt Mann as a stopgap dummy-half and promoting a new five-eighth, such as Phoenix Crossland or Tex Hoy.
But Mann has been one of Newcastle's standouts this season and has clearly relished being able to play five-eighth on a weekly basis.
Watson said his teammates were "devastated" by their lacklustre performance against the last-placed Bulldogs and would strive to make amends against Melbourne at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday.
"The good thing about rugby league is that we get to play again next week," he said. "And I know the boys are going to bounce back."
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