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Presser Points: Why KP is still sidelined

Ahead of the nib Newcastle Knights clash against the New Zealand Warriors, Head Coach Adam O’Brien fronted the media this morning.

After last week’s defeat against the Rabbitohs, the team is determined to give it everything in a must-win clash with the Warriors in a round that is close to the Club’s heart.

“This is a really important round for our Club,” O’Brien said.

“The Mark Hughes Foundation, the work they’re doing to hopefully get a cure for this horrible disease (Brain cancer).

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“The boys are really excited to be here.

“They’re running around with their beanies on today and will have them on tomorrow.

“I think it’s a great concept and great cause.”

Following the news yesterday that star fullback Kalyn Ponga will not be returning for this week’s clash, O’Brien went to task explaining why his No.1 will remain on the sidelines for another week.

“He’s just a bit short,” he continued.

“I think the right decision for us is to play the long game with him and get some more running load into him.

“It’s not so much the actual injury itself, it’s what you can open yourself up to by coming in a little bit short.

“When he does return he will be absolutely 100%.”

However, there is good news for the Club with the return of the spine and other integral players which will improve the team’s performance.

“Mitchell (Pearce) has been outstanding,” he added.

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“I thought he and (Jake) Clifford have worked really well together at training on and off the field.

“I’m excited for his return."

Pearce isn't the only big name making his return.

“I’m excited to have Hymel (Hunt) back," O'Brien said.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had him, and big (David) Klem has served his suspension and is ready to go as well."

With a much healthier-looking squad back on deck, O'Brien was confident of seeing an improved performance heading into this weekend.

“Keeping a consistent spine out on the field will go a long way to getting good performances," he said.

“There’s plenty of positives for this footy club moving forward over the back end of the year.”