Ponga update, Mann and Mata'utia in doubt

Kurt Mann and Sione Mata’utia are racing the clock to be fit enough to face Manly on Saturday night.

The nib Newcastle Knights have one final training run left ahead of their match at McDonald Jones stadium with the duo needing to take part in order to play.

According to coach Nathan Brown, the duo look unlikely to overcome their respective injuries in time for the Round 5 match.

“He’s doubtful, we’d say,” Brown revealed when asked about Mann.

“He carried an injury into last week’s game and played with it. At this stage, the information from yesterday was that he was very doubtful so we’ll get a bit more information today.

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“I’d be surprised if he was to play.”

Mann is battling a sternum injury, while Mata’utia picked up a ‘stinger’ against St George Illawarra last week.

“I’d say 50-50,” Brown said of Mata’utia.

“You’d have to say doubtful. It’s one of those things, if it’s 100 percent, he’s fine. If it’s 90 percent, he’s not fine so he can’t play with the problem.

“At this stage I’d say doubtful… he’d have to train tomorrow fully to play… it’s a stinger type thing, so he needs 100 percent power to be able to take part.”

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Should Mata’utia miss the match, both Aidan Guerra and Mitch Barnett will come into calculation to replace him on the edge.

That would then free up a spot on the bench with Josh King the most likely option to join the 17.

Meanwhile, Kalyn Ponga is expected to play despite currently being out of the country.

Ponga and his family are in New Zealand dealing with a family tragedy.

The No.1 has indicated he wants to face the Sea Eagles this weekend, but regardless of his decision, he has the full support of the club during this difficult time.

“KP and the whole Ponga family are aware if KP needs to stay in New Zealand we are very supportive but if he’s happy to come home, we’re more than happy to have him play,” Brown said.

“Sometimes football has to take a backseat and if that was the case this weekend, we’re very supportive as a club but as it turns out, I believe Kalyn is keen to play.”