Knights lose star prop in costly NRL loss

Daniel Saifiti's knee injury is a big blow for the Knights.
Daniel Saifiti's knee injury is a big blow for the Knights.

Newcastle's NRL top four hopes have taken a hit with star prop Daniel Saifiti facing time on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The NSW Origin enforcer went down in Sunday's 10-4 loss to Parramatta in Newcastle with a suspected posterior cruciate ligament injury, after just 38 minutes.

He will go for scans on Monday, but it is likely he will be sidelined for "a few weeks" according to coach Adam O'Brien.

"Early diagnosis is PCL, I think that's better than the others," he said after the game.

The loss of Saifiti will be a huge blow for the Knights who are already without starters Jayden Brailey, Connor Watson, Edrick Lee and Mitch Barnett.

Saifiti has been immense for the Dragons this season, averaging 170 running metres per game and giving another 91 metres from eight runs before being struck down on Sunday.

However, given their injury toll the Knights made a brave account of themselves in the four-point loss to the ladder-leading Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The loss knocked them out of the top four, which is now made up of Eels, Penrith, Melbourne and the Roosters.

Over the past two weeks Storm have beaten the 2019 grand finalists in gritty matches, establishing themselves as a title contender in 2020.

Saturday's six-point win over the Raiders was controversial, with the NRL's head of football Graham Annesley forced to admit a decision to sin-bin Bailey Simonsson was incorrect.

While Simonsson was off the field, Storm ran in a try to his opposite winger Josh Addo-Carr and Cameron Smith converted, which was the match-winning margin.

The match was further soured by the news Simonsson and co-captain Josh Hodgson will miss the remainder of the season with shoulder and ACL injuries respectfully.

Elsewhere, Penrith rookie Charlie Staines became just the seventh NRL player to score four tries on debut in Saturday's 56-24 thrashing of Cronulla.

It ensured heartwarming scenes on the sideline as a group of the 19-year-old's friends and family from Forbes celebrated his unforgettable performance.

It follows a similar effort from Roosters winger Matt Ikuvalu on Thursday night, when he scored five tries against North Queensland after being called up minutes before kick off.

Star winger Brett Morris went down with a groin injury in the warm up but Ikuvalu deputised brilliantly for the biggest haul for a Roosters player since Brian Allsop against Parramatta in 1955.

And while it took Staines just 66 minutes to score a hattrick, South Sydney winger Dane Gagai took 193 NRL games.

The Queensland Origin winner racked up three tries for the first time in a competition game in Friday night's 18-10 win over the Wests Tigers.

Meanwhile, Gold Coast scored a heart-stopping 16-12 win over the Warriors on Friday night and Brisbane snapped a six-game losing streak with a 26-8 win over Canterbury.

The Bulldogs are now last on the NRL ladder with just one win from the first nine rounds.

Australian Associated Press