KIWI international Herman Ese'ese appears certain to be the odd man out when Knights coach Nathan Brown names his squad for Friday's season opener against Cronulla at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Ese'ese, who was outstanding for Newcastle last season, playing in 23 games and making his Test debut for New Zealand, is expected to be squeezed out of the 17 on Tuesday by new signings David Klemmer, James Gavet and Tim Glasby.
He was scheduled to to media interviews on Monday but was a late withdrawal, and was seen in close conversation with the club's support staff after training.
Meanwhile, veteran winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall has declared himself a certain starter, having overcome an ankle problem that caused him to miss the trial against Cronulla earlier this month.
"I'm 100 per cent," Kenny-Dowall said.
"I had a big session on Saturday to get the tick and I passed with flying colours. So I can move into this week confidently, knowing that I'm not in any doubt."
Kenny-Dowall has been a model of consistency for the Knights since arriving mid-season from the Roosters in 2017, stringing together 30 consecutive games.