KNIGHTS coach Wayne Bennett is sweating on the results of scans taken yesterday that will determine if primary playmaker Jarrod Mullen lines up against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Mullen suffered a heavy knock in Saturday’s loss to Gold Coast and there were fears he may have fractured an eye socket.
The 25-year-old underwent X-rays yesterday and will visit Knights doctor Neil Halpin today for a prognosis.
Given Newcastle have already lost skipper Kurt Gidley (shoulder) and Ryan Stig (eye) to long-term injuries, they can scarcely afford to have Mullen on the sidelines too.
If Mullen was unavailable, Bennett would have to find a five-eighth to partner rookie Tyrone Roberts at the scrumbase.
Some pundits, including Knights legend Andrew Johns, believe Bennett should gamble on switching Darius Boyd from fullback to pivot, as he once did with Darren Lockyer.
Alternatively, Bennett might have to consider the merits of former Cronulla halfback Albert Kelly.
Kelly was thrown a lifeline by Newcastle last month after he was sacked by the Sharks.
He has since been playing for Newcastle’s NSW Cup team and also for district club Central Charlestown.
Still only 21, Kelly debuted for the Sharks as an 18-year-old in 2010 and has played in 14 NRL games. The former Australian Schoolboy experienced a major setback last year when he broke his leg playing against North Queensland and was sidelined for almost five months.
Newcastle’s other main injury concern was veteran hooker Danny Buderus, who suffered a head knock against Gold Coast, but is expected to play on Sunday.