With the bye behind them, the Newcastle Knights have headed into Round 16 with some good news on the injury front.
After a tough run, head coach Nathan Brown is looking forward to the return of up to four players this Saturday at Hunter Stadium.
“We’ve got a number of players that trained last week and a number that are training this week that are a chance of returning,” Brown said after training on Monday morning.
“Pete and Chanel Mata’utia have both been out for a long time and are looking to be available for selection.
“Nathan Ross is back in team training after being out for a couple of weeks and Robbie Rochow would have to be a chance of playing as well.”
The outside backs that played against the Warriors had a combined average age of 20, and the availability of more experienced heads in the form of Pete Mata’utia and Ross will be a big boost this week.
Rochow meanwhile has been on the sidelines since Round 6, and will provide more than 70 games of NRL experience to a pack that has been nearly as youthful as the backline in recent weeks.
“Bringing them back at separate stages would probably be the ideal scenario, but with Gags (Dane Gagai) playing Origin and Jake Mamo having picked up a minor (ankle) injury, it’s likely they’ll have to come in straight away,” Brown explained.
And while playmaker Jarrod Mullen won’t be available this weekend, Brown has revealed that he is well ahead of schedule on his return from long-term injury.
“He’s doing a bit better than we all thought,” Brown reported.
“He’s started doing a bit of on-field work today, and he’s a fairly good healer and a really good athlete.
“We’re hopeful that after the final bye he won’t be far away, so you could say he’s a fair way ahead of schedule.”