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Ponga return, Watson and Fitzgibbon update

The nib Newcastle Knights are already low on troops and after Sunday's loss to Cronulla, their depth will continue to be tested.

With one round remaining in the regular season, the Knights' spine is hurting.

Already without Slade Griffin to a season ending knee injury and missing Kalyn Ponga to a pesky ankle issue, Coach Nathan Brown could lose Connor Watson yet again.

In his return from a groin injury, the five-eighth limped from the field against the Sharks after re-aggravating the area.


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He is now considered to be in some doubt for Old Boys Day against St George Illawarra on Saturday.

"Connor, if they can get some needles in him and he can play with needles and he's up for that, that'll be the way it'll be," Brown said.

"If he can't, he won't."

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Ponga has been in a moon boot all week in a bid to get the ankle under control.

When asked about the likelihood of Ponga returning to the field for the last game of the season, Brown was hesitant.

"I'd say he'd be extremely doubtful," Brown said of Ponga.

"Whether that changes or not next week, we'll see.

"We certainly won't be putting him out there if there's any long-term risk.

"We'd love him to play all the same but we'll wait and see."

Should Watson and Ponga be ruled out, Jack Cogger will come back into contention.

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The half has needed surgery on his hand after damaging tendons earlier in the year but delayed the operation. 

"He's toughed it out," Brown said.

"Surgery can wait another week if need be."

Lachlan Fitzgibbon was concussed in Sunday's game and failed to return to the field.

He'll need to pass the concussion testing during the week but Brown is optimistic that the backrower will be fit to play.

"Hopefully he'll be okay for next week," he said.