NEVILLE Costigan shapes as a shock replacement for Danny Buderus as the Knights employ state-of-the-art technology they hope will fast-track the hooker’s return from injury.
Former NSW Origin skipper Buderus will miss Newcastle’s next two games and has been ruled out of the Origin series opener on May 23.
Matt Hilder had been expected to deputise as hooker. But prop Kade Snowden might have revealed Wayne Bennett’s game plan when he said yesterday that Costigan was likely to handle at least some of the dummy-half duties against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday.
‘‘Nev’s gone into hooker and he trained really well this morning,’’ Snowden said.
Better known as a back-rower or prop, Costigan was used regularly as a hooker by Bennett in his early years with Brisbane.
In 2004, he made eight appearances as Brisbane’s starting hooker.
Buderus limped off in the first half of Monday night’s 34-14 win against Penrith and is facing at least two games on the sidelines with the Achilles tendonitis that has troubled him for at least the past five years.
The 34-year-old is regarded as the ultimate professional and has volunteered to be a guinea pig as the Knights trial a new rehabilitation tool, the Recovery Pump System.
Knights high-performance manager Jeremy Hickmans said the club was offered a chance to experiment with the RPS and one was delivered last weekend.
Hickmans said that as far as he was aware Melbourne were the only other NRL club to have started using the RPS, which costs about $1095 per unit and resembles a pair of waders.
‘‘With equipment like this, the science and the testimonials always sound good, but we prefer to have a look and try to figure out how much bang we’ll get for our buck,’’ Hickmans said.
‘‘In this case, we thought it sounded interesting from a recovery point of view. We’ve only had it for a few days, which was good timing for Danny, although he might not agree, given that he’s injured.
‘‘He’s used it a couple of times but it’s too early to say if there have been any benefits.’’
Hickmans said Buderus would use the RPS for between 30 and 45 minutes once a day.
Hickmans said the RPS technology had originated from medical experts hoping to cure deep-vein thrombosis and had been recommended by a friend at the Queensland Academy of Sport.
According to the recoverypump.com website, the RPS is a medical-grade ‘‘intermittent, pneumatic, compression device’’ featuring four-chambered sleeves that inflate from the toes to the base of the buttock.
‘‘The device is used for recovery in maximal, endurance sports,’’ the website says. ‘‘The boots massage the muscles to improve circulation during use and help reduce swelling, soreness and fatigue.’’