The weekend’s bye for the Newcastle Knights allowed some players valuable time to overcome a number of injuries before Sunday’s match at home against the Cronulla Sharks.
“We really needed the week off. We went into the last round with some boys carrying some niggles,” coach Rick Stone said on Monday morning.
According to the coach, Kade Snowden, Chris Houston, Tyrone Roberts and Jarrod Mullen, who have carried injuries and been in doubt over the last few weeks have moved closer to recovery.
“All of them are in the mix and possibly even Robbie Rochow is in the mix for the weekend,” he said.
“We will name our team tomorrow but until then, we have a little bit of a longer week and will make our decision by Thursday on who we think is going to get to the post for Sunday’s game."
Jeremy Smith is also pushing to prove fitness for Sunday’s match after sustaining a sternum injury in Round 10.
“He’s still pretty sore with that sternum injury,” Stone said about Smith.
“Sometimes those ones take a long time to heal.
“His contact hasn’t been great so far and will need to reassess him tomorrow and Thursday."
Stone also provided an update on forward Jack Stockwell’s bicep injury he suffered in Round 13.
“He’s going to be out for the rest of the year, which is really disappointing considering his form in the last few weeks,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jarrod Mullen is hoping to progress with his recovery and is expected to take part in a skills session on Tuesday.
“We will see how his foot can take a load and will see how it is by the end of tomorrow,” he said.
The Knights returned to the training field at Knights HQ on Monday morning minus Beau Scott, Korbin Sims, Tariq Sims and Dane Gagai, who are on Origin duties.
“Today we have a few boys away with Origin commitments and I expect to have them back on Thursday,” he said.
“Then our team will start taking some shape."
Stone expects the Origin experience will be particularly invaluable to the Sims brothers.
"Tariq has been one of our form players since he’s been here,” he said.
"His effort, leadership and attitude have been second to none, so it’s a really good reward for him.
"Korbin is a player of the future and Gagai has been one of our best players pretty much the whole year.
“He’s getting closer to knocking on the door."
Now well rested after the bye, the teams builds for the upcoming two challenging rounds before a second bye in Round 17.
“There are two decent games for us. We have Sharks and then Brisbane away on a Friday night,” he said.
“We have a short sharp couple of weeks…we are just going to have to do the best that we can in getting our troops back on the park."