Newcastle’s top eight hopes have taken a massive hit after they were mauled 48-4 by the Storm, but things could get worse with superstar Kalyn Ponga in doubt for next week’s game after he failed an HIA late in the first half.
Ponga had earlier slipped headfirst into Felise Kaufusi’s legs but played on, but he’ll wish he hadn’t after he was collected by Tui Kamikamica’s shoulder after he passed a ball deep on the attack.
Neither incident was penalised, but the second one could come under further investigation after it knocked the Maroons maestro out of the contest.
There didn’t appear to be any intent from Kamikamica to do anything illegal as he stood his ground and braced for impact. But the hit looked spectacular and could rob the Knights of their most important player for next week’s game against the Roosters, while David Klemmer also failed an HIA.
“They’re both good,” coach Adam O’Brien said.
“Kalyn in particular is a bit disappointed, I think.
“I don’t think it was on report and it wasn’t a penalty, so he’s disappointed. It wasn’t the reason why we put that performance in.”
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The Storm were ruthless against the Knights, notching up their 14th straight win. Picture: Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
The Knights were so caught up in the Covid chaos that they forgot to pack their home jerseys for Saturday night’s clash.
If they had their time again, they probably would have chosen to stay in the hotel room with their jerseys and a hot mug of Milo after they became the 14th team in a row to feel the full wrath of the Melbourne machine.
Proud Novocastrians would have been cautiously optimistic about their team’s chances, but the loss of Mitchell Pearce to a hamstring injury earlier in the week was just the start of the Saturday slaughter.
Rookie Dom Young dropped the ball twice in the opening few minutes, balls bounced horribly for Storm tries and David Klemmer failed a first-half HIA as the Knights produced their worst 80 minutes in a long time.
“That’s not a top eight performance. Whether we’re equal-eighth or thereabouts, we need to address some stuff,” O’Brien said.
Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga could be in doubt for Round 19, after leaving the field with a head knock.Source:Supplied
It’s unlikely many people have guzzled down some Dom Perignon from a footy boot, but you couldn’t fault the Storm boys if they chose to celebrate another massive win that should have coincided with their return to Melbourne.
“They’re a terrific group representing our club and representing our state,” Craig Bellamy said.
“For the week that it was … it’s one of the better wins that I can remember.”
Fullback Nicho Hynes celebrated his five-star performance with a shoey late in the first half when he scooped up a Justin Olam grubber to make it 30-0 at the break.
It was payback for Melbourne’s first try when Hynes played flat to send Olam on his way from a scrum move that sparked the Storm’s attacking brilliance as they chalked up 40 points for the eleventh time this season.
Hynes was ridiculously good again, finishing the game with three try assists, eight conversions and 166 running metres as he looks to pick up another premiership before he joins the Sharks.
He had plenty of friends on the Gold Coast, with Jahrome Hughes chipping in with two try assists including a 99-metre effort that was finished off by Reimis Smith, while Justin Olam was in beast mode on the left.
Nicho Hynes was once again very impressive and will be hard to leave out of the squad when Ryan Papenhuyzen returns. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
This is a team missing Ryan Papenhuyzen, Harry Grant, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Christian Welch and Josh Addo-Carr, but they are two points clear at the top and look like they’re playing a different game to their rivals.
“Hughesy just seems to be able to create something out of nothing. He’s a remarkable player,” Craig Bellamy said.
“I wouldn’t swap him for any halfback in the game.
“His (Hynes) performance in the first half was outstanding.”
Hughes (calf) and two-try hero George Jennings (PCL) failed to finish the match, Aaron Booth dislocated his shoulder but popped it back in, while Dale Finucane is at long odds to play next week after he copped a sickening head knock in the first half.
Originally published asKiller blow: Knights’ injury crisis threatens season
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