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NRL: Knights missing Ponga

Newcastle Knights have confirmed star fullback Kalyn Ponga will miss the clash against Penrith Panthers on Saturday because of a knee injury.

The Knights are priced at 13/5 to cause an upset against the reigning premiers but will have to do it without Ponga as he attempts to battle back to fitness.

Knee complaint

Ponga was missing when Newcastle beat the Wests Tigers last Sunday and will sit out again as the Knights are not willing to take any risks on their star man.

The fullback has declared himself fit but coach Adam O’Brien has overruled him as they adopt a cautious approach with the injury.

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There is some good news though as O’Brien confirmed NSW State of Origin prop Daniel Saifiti has recovered from a hairline fracture in his leg and will return.

"Daniel's a definite starter," O'Brien told reporters ahead of the game. "I thought Tex Hoy did a great job last week (replacing Ponga). He did his job and was nice and safe at the back and I expect more of the same."

Panthers test

The Knights have won both their opening games this season, conceding the fewest points in the NRL.

The Panthers are also two from two and despite the fact they will be missing key players, O’Brien knows what kind of game his side are in for.

"We want to defend well and we've identified some areas where we want to improve,” he added. "We're coming up against a team that's really going to hurt you, if you take a breath they'll get you. We understand what sort of footy side we're facing."

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