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Consistent squad key for Brown

Several nib Newcastle Knights’ players were tested during Tuesday’s training session and are expected to be named to play against the Penrith Panthers this Friday.

Nathan Ross injured his ankle in the six-point loss on Saturday, while Brendan Elliot and Sione Mata'utia both suffered a concussion.

“Rossy has come through right, there is a bit of swelling and he's a bit sore but there’s players everywhere now that are carrying a few bumps and bruises,” Brown said.

“He got out there today and got through training which is great.

“Sione is looking likely more than unlikely, he should train on Thursday and should be ok, he’s not 100 per cent cleared yet but all things are pointing towards he’ll play at this stage.

“If everyone comes through their testing alright, we’d imagine the side would be the same.

“Players have ticked the right boxes but there are a number of steps to go through.”

Meanwhile there are a few players that aren’t quite ready to return, including Rory Kostjasyn (throat) and Pauli Pauli (hip).

“Rory is slowly coming along, I am not sure when he will play, whether it’s two weeks or three or four weeks but he’s had his operation, so now it’s just a bit of a process,” added Brown.

“He had to have two weeks where he didn’t do any contact, his first week and a half he was very sore but now he’s started to do light training.

“We’d be hopeful in another week and a half he’ll presume team training and then when he feels right, he’ll be ok.

“Pauli trained today for the first time with the team, we’d be hopeful if he got through the next weeks of training and he ticked a few more boxes, then he’d be right to go.”

As the focus turns to Friday’s clash against the Penrith Panthers, the coach is pleased with the team's improvement but he wants an 80-minute performance.

“When we do build the pressure on our opposition, we probably don’t maintain it for long enough,” Brown said.

“That’s probably let us down in both of our losses, even in our win, we had Gold Coast in a really good spot and we had one or two parts of our game that we let them back into the match.

“We’ve got a fair way to go as a team, I think we’ve improved a lot but we also need to improve a lot more.

“We’re going to have to improve in a couple of areas from the other day and hopefully give less opportunities to blokes like Matt Moylan.”

Brown believes in weeks to come there will also be more opportunity for players like Anthony Tupou and UK import Joe Wardle.

“Both are getting close, both have played two games of reserve grade now and both aren’t far away from playing first grade,” explained Brown.

“Tupou is definitely an experienced player and he’s been around a long time, he knows his way around the field, it was more about him training with the team and getting used to what’s going on.

“Joe’s a first-grade footballer, I’ve got no doubt about that, its’ about learning his teammates as well as getting some game time because he’s come off a knee injury.

“There are a number of guys in reserve grade, I have no doubt if we put them in first grade they’ll do a good job.”

It’s a short turnaround for the Knights this week, who are set to play the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Friday.