Round 23 injury update: Forward boost, will Ponga play?

Will Kalyn Ponga take the field against Penrith this weekend?

nib Newcastle Knights Physical Performance Manager, Tony Ayoub, certainly thinks so.

While the Club has toyed with the idea of resting the fullback, who has been nursing an ankle injury, Ayoub said Ponga trained on Monday and is recovering better than first expected.


"He's pulled up pretty good this week," Ayoub, said.

"He injured it two-three weeks ago and it was pretty nasty there for those few days.

"He got up for that North Queensland game and played tough.

"He's got better each week, there's no doubt about. We expected after a couple of flights over the last couple of weeks, it probably wasn't going to be great.


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"We spoke about resting him but it has pulled up better than we expected.

"From my perspective, I think we're in a good spot with Kalyn. I don't think it's as bad as we thought it was going to be this week. I would like, hopefully we'll get him up for the game."

In a further boost to the team, veteran forward Jacob Lillyman could be set to return from injury.


Retiring at the end of the season, Lillyman missed last week's game against the Warriors with an abdominal/groin issue but is pushing for a Round 23 return.

"He had a really positive day (on Monday)," Ayoub said.

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"He's in a really good spot at the moment. He jumped in and did some skills which I didn't expect for him to do.

"If he pulls up well, we'll throw him in on Wednesday.

"Next week we definitely think he'll be right but if we got him back this week it would be a bonus."


Finally, Connor Watson has missed the previous few games with a groin issue but looks set to make his return against Cronulla in Round 24.

"He's progressing well," Ayoub said.

"It's too much of a risk to try and get him up for this week's game."

Injured players and expected return dates:

Tautau Moga (ACL, Season)

Slade Griffin (Knee, Season)

Jacob Saifiti (Shoulder, Indefinite)

Nathan Ross (Groin, Indefinite)

Connor Watson (Groin, Round 24)

Jacob Lillyman (Abdominal, Round 23-24)