THE Knights have been dealt a shattering blow after back-rower Jamie Buhrer suffered a fractured foot in a training accident on Thursday.
Buhrer is expected to miss at least eight games, starting with Friday’s clash with the Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The former Manly utility will join Newcastle’s other key off-season signing, Rory Kostjasyn, on the sidelines.
Kostjaysn is yet to play this year after fracturing his larynx in the pre-season, and it remains uncertain when he will be cleared to play.
Meanwhile, Knights officials have begrudgingly accepted a $50,000 for the Brendan Elliot incident in their round-three loss to South Sydney. Elliot was crunched in a grade-two reckless high tackle on March 18, which earned Souths centre Hymel Hunt a four-game suspension.
The incident was also costly for the Knights, who incurred a $100,000 breach notice for not removing Elliot from the field for a head-injury assessment.
Newcastle lodged a submission, arguing they should not be fined, and the NRL reduced the sanction last week to a $50,000 penalty, with $50,000 suspended for 12 months.
The Knights indicated they would appeal against the fine but the club announced on Thursday it had abandoned any further legal action.
In a statement, the Knights said they "thoroughly investigated the matter and sought independent evaluation by a leading concussion specialist” and were “extremely disappointed in the process that the NRL has undertaken”.
“We adamantly support our medical staff and the integrity they demonstrate in the management of our players … we will write to the NRL and express our disappointment,” Knights CEO Matt Gidley said.
Newcastle forward Daniel Saifiti is confident his teammates can provide more resistance against the Roosters on Friday night than they did last season, when they overpowered the Knights 38-0.
“All I remember is that they were big,’’ Saifiti said.
“They were probably the first big team that I played last year, and probably the first game that I thought this is what the big league is like.
“Just big forwards and mobile. That’s the main thing I remember.’’
Saifiti said Newcastle have “come such a long way” in the past year and he was confident they could notch their second win of the season.
Knights skipper Trent Hodkinson said it was important for Newcastle to end a run of narrow losses.
“I don’t think we’re too far away,’’ he said. “The confidence is growing each week.”
* Former Knight Jake Mamo was man-of-the-match on debut for Huddersfield in their 29-22 home loss to Catalans Dragons.
The 22-year-old, who arrived in England with a broken ankle, scored a try and produced a series of dashing runs.