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O’Brien drops hint for injured Mann replacement

It was a tremendous performance by the nib Newcastle Knights to topple premiership contenders the Raiders 34-18 on Sunday evening, but it didn’t come without its negatives as Kurt Mann was the next name to be added an already long-list of injuries.

Going down late in the game with what seemed to be an ankle injury, Mann’s availability for next weekend’s clash with the Storm now has a question mark over it.  

Speaking to the media following the match at Campbelltown Stadium, coach Adam O’Brien suggested the names of contenders to fill in for the No.6 jersey indicating there was plenty of players who have the ability to perform well.

“Kurt’s ankle is fairly well swollen,” O’Brien said.

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“We’ve got Tex [Hoy], we’ve got Mason [Lino] and we’ve got young Phoenix [Crossland].”

With those list of names, O’Brien declared that Kalyn Ponga wouldn’t be making the move to cover Mann’s absence.

Crossland was a name on many excited fans’ lips throughout pre-season as a possible future half, until an injury derailed his momentum.

Since his return to training though, the young five-eighth has impressed O’Brien and the Knights coach hinted at giving him a chance as well as fellow youngster Tex Hoy who has captivated fans in recent weeks.

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“We’ve got options there without having to move KP,” he said.

“Phoenix is back training and he’s been really impressive actually.

“His contact work has been very good.

“We carried Tex in the team for a ‘what if’ scenario and we didn’t get it until late. I think between those guys, we’ll be able to leave KP at fullback.”

Next week will see the Knights host Melbourne at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon.