Knights coach Adam O'Brien says he has faith in Jake Clifford to manage the side's attack with Mitchell Pearce considered only a remote chance of playing against the Canberra Raiders in Brisbane tomorrow.
Pearce has not completely been ruled out but hasn't trained with the team all week after missing consecutive defeats to Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters because of a hamstring tear.
Clifford and halves partner Phoenix Crossland ran the show at the club's major training session on Wednesday with Pearce running on his own and not taking part at all.
"I haven't completely put a line through Junior but just looking at him yesterday, he's highly unlikely," O'Brien told the Newcastle Herald.
"The injury - it's just still there - not massive and he's very close but it's still there. So it's a huge risk which has to be weighed up because if he took it in and did it again, that's an extended period, maybe the rest of the season.
"I'm not prepared to take that sort of risk if that's the case and I'm prepared to put faith in the other guys. They have trained well and they understand the blokes around them have got faith in them as well.
"The two halves, Phoenix and Cliff, and Kalyn [fullback Ponga] have trained well together - they have trained the whole week - so there is no reason why they can't go and get it done. We just need everybody to go out and do their job."
Clifford was down on himself after kicking poorly in the second half against the Roosters and dismally failing the game management test during the 28-8 defeat.
Significantly when he named his team this week, O'Brien switched his halves around with Clifford handed the No.7 jersey.
"I named him in the 7 jersey to say right, you're making the calls, it's your team so it was a psychologically thing," O'Brien said.
"Obviously, he was really disappointed just with how we managed the Roosters game but he owned it and he's trained really well, probably around that No.7 idea," O'Brien said. "His teammates have got around him, they believe in him so he's bounced back really well and I've got a lot of faith in him."
In a huge boost to the players yesterday, they were allowed out of the strict quarantine bubble they have been in since arriving on the Sunshine Coast and many of them were also joined in camp by their partners and families.
"Hotel staff are allowed back in so we can get rooms cleaned and everything will get a little bit easier now with families moving in as well," O'Brien said.
IN THE NEWS:
- Newcastle council releases report into Cr Allan Robinson code of conduct breaches
- Living a nightmare after a high-risk person exposed their business to COVID-19
- Allan Robinson, Newcastle Independents split for 2021 election after council report on 'Robbo' comments made public
- COVID NSW numbers rise to 239 as Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces tighter restrictions
- Maitland City Council objects to lodge formal objection about Martins Creek Quarry expansion
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: