Saifiti ban adds strain to Knights team

Newcastle's list of available players has been stretched to the limit with Jacob Saifiti taking an early guilty plea to miss their NRL clash with Gold Coast.

MITCHELL PEARCE.
MITCHELL PEARCE. Picture: Racing and Sports

A suspension has ruled out Jacob Saifiti for Saturday's NRL clash with the Gold Coast, adding further strain to Newcastle's list of available players.

On Tuesday the Knights prop took the early guilty plea and accepted a one-match ban for a shoulder charge on St George Illawarra winger Mikaele Ravalawa.

It adds Saifiti to a long list of players unavailable for the Knights, with the club likely to apply for dispensation to name a 21-man squad on Tuesday afternoon.

Newcastle have at least 10 players of their top 29 NRL contracted players unavailable through injury or suspension.

On Monday scans confirmed star halfback Mitchell Pearce would miss 10-12 weeks after undergoing surgery on a ruptured pectoral, suffered in Sunday's 22-13 loss to the Dragons.

David Klemmer (knee) is a chance to be named against the Titans, while Tex Hoy (hamstring), Kurt Mann (concussion) and Dom Young (knee) will be missing from the side after Sunday's carnage.

They add to the list of outs which includes strike centre Bradman Best (elbow), winger Edrick Lee (foot), Phoenix Crossland (knee), Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder), Bailey Hodgson (knee) and Jirah Momoisea (Achilles).

Fullback Kalyn Ponga is set to return to the field from off-season shoulder surgery but he will come into a decimated side with most of the backline in the casualty ward.