KNIGHTS winger Hymel Hunt has vowed to grit his teeth and brave the pain barrier to take his place in Sunday's clash with St George Illawarra at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Hunt was wearing an orthopaedic support boot after Sunday's 24-20 loss to Wests Tigers, having struggled with an ankle injury for much of the second half.
But given that Edrick Lee (foot), Bradman Best (elbow) and Starford To'a (shoulder) all missed last week's game, Newcastle are thin on outside backs and Hunt has no intention of joining the long list of players on the sidelines.
"It's just one of those little niggles that you get, but that's footy," Hunt told the Newcastle Herald.
"I just have to recover and get ready for the next game.
"We're getting a bit low on OB [outside back] stocks so I don't want to be missing any games. I just want to do whatever is best for the team."
Hunt has provided remarkable value since joining the Knights from South Sydney at the end of 2018, appearing in 47 of a possible 48 games.
The only fixture he missed was when coach Adam O'Brien rested him in round 18 last season, to freshen him up for the finals.
"I was actually a bit gutted to miss that one," he said. "I never want to miss any games, touch wood."
On Sunday he faces a daunting task in trying to contain explosive Fijian Mikaele Ravalawa, who has recaptured his best form under new Dragons coach Anthony Griffin.
"He's a beast and he's playing great footy," Hunt said of Ravalawa.
"I've played him a few times but this is a new challenge, so I'm excited to be marking him. I just have to do my job for the team."
Off contract at the end of the season, Hunt hopes to extend his tenure after previous stints with Gold Coast, Melbourne and Souths.
It's just one of those little niggles that you get.HYMEL HUNT
"I'm just leaving that with my manager," he said.
"I think he's talking to the club at the moment, but I just have to keep playing good footy, and that'll sort itself out.
"I love it here, so hopefully I'm not going anywhere.
"My partner and I are really settled here and we love Newcastle. She's got herself a good job in New Lambton and if we could stay here as long as we can, that would be a dream come true."
The 27-year-old was confident the likely return of playmaker Blake Green would boost the Knights after last week's deflating loss to the Tigers.
"I'm very excited for Greeny," Hunt said.
"I think he's a month ahead of schedule. He's been unreal in training.
"We can't wait for him to be back, because he's a real calm head and a great leader.
"His calmness helps everyone play better."