Knights coach Adam O'Brien says his side won't be treating fullback Kalyn Ponga as their "saviour" when he makes his timely first appearance for the club this season against the Gold Coast following shoulder surgery.
On a day when the Knights had to seek exemptions from the NRL to name development players to fill the 21-man squad for Saturday's Titans clash because of an injury crisis, Ponga's return and the availability of prop David Klemmer were the big positives when O'Brien unveiled his team.
Ponga is a straight swap for the injured Tex Hoy [hamstring] while Klemmer will shrug off a knee injury he picked up during the Dragons loss last Sunday to take his place in the front row alongside co-captains Daniel Saifiti and Jayden Brailey.
The Knights starting pack is intact although the loss of Jacob Saifiti after he took the early plea for a shoulder charge weakens O'Brien's bench rotation.
The bench now includes Josh King, Pasami Saulo, Brodie Jones and development player Chris Randall although there is still a chance Simi Sasagi could feature after he was named in jersey No.20.
With Mitchell Pearce [torn pec] and Kurt Mann [concussion] unavailable, the new halves pairing will be Blake Green and Connor Watson.
While conceding Ponga's return will boost the side, he says the attitude of the players will be about what they can do to help him in his return rather than what Ponga can do for them.
"Kalyn has worked bloody hard to get back because his shoulder surgery was a lot worse than we initially expected it was going to be,"O'Brien said. "Now that he's back, it's not about Kalyn and what he does for us. That's unfair.
"We've all got jobs to do to help him in his first game back. It won't be about 'thank God, Kalyn the saviour is here'. That's not what we're about.
"We're about working really hard for each other and providing opportunities for each other. If Kalyn can benefit from that first up, that's great but no-one will be sitting back looking for him to create something."
It won't be about thank God, Kalyn the saviour is here.Adam O'Brien
On Klemmer's knee, O'Brien said: "It's settling down. The scans were clear, he's just pushed the knee back past where it's meant to go. But he's on the mend so that's good news."
With 11 players injured and Jacob Saifiti suspended, O'Brien was forced to name three development players in his 21 including Garrett Smith, who can't crack a spot in the NSW Cup team while Braydon Musgrove was named even though he has been out for a number of weeks with fractured ribs.
O'Brien said there will be no excuses against the Titans.
"We control our attitude, effort - no-one else," he said.
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