The injury list is about to get smaller with several outside back receiving positive news.
Tautau Moga is arguably the highest profile nib Newcastle Knight currently sidelined with injury but will be pushing hard for a first round return.
Head of Physical Performance, Balin Cupples said the centre is poised to enter a heavy training phase where he’ll re-join his teammate in some physical contact in the coming weeks.
“Tau had his planned follow-up with some external assessors,” Cupples said.
“He got some really positive news.
“He can build into now, a heavy training phase.
“He’s got that final stage of return to competition yet to nail … those early rounds are our target.”
Moga is recovering from an ACL injury, as is young outside back Brayden Musgrove.
Like Moga, Musgrove can see the finishing line in sight as he approaches his comeback.
Injury Report: Moga, Brayden Musgrove and Bradman Best
“Brayden and Tau have been working really strongly together, pretty much along their whole return phase,” Cupples said.
“Brayden had his first assessment and got really strong feedback.
“Brayden is (aiming) for more (around) round four or five.”
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Teenage back Bradman Best injured his knee while on tour with the Australian Schoolboys which has hampered his pre-season training experience with the NRL squad.
“He’s pretty much recovered from his MCL,” Cupples said.
“Like Tau, we’re finding where we can fit him into team training.
“We’ve got a bit of training base to achieve with him because he missed that pre-season phase.
“With how valuable he is to us long-term, we’re really going to put some focus in making sure athletically and physically, he’s ready to go when we do roll him out.”
Injured players and expected return dates:
Tautau Moga (ACL - Early Rounds)
Jacob Saifiti (Leg - Indefinite)
Slade Griffin (ACL - Indefinite)
Bradman Best (MCL - Round 1)
Brayden Musgrove (ACL – Early Rounds)