Chanel Mata'utia cleared of serious injury
It was the sickening moment that saw Chanel Mata'utia helped from the field but Knights coach Nathan Brown has cleared the winger of any facial fractures or neck problems, confirming that he had instead suffered a nasty concussion after a tackle gone wrong midway through the second half of his side's 28-4 loss to the Roosters.
Mata'utia was attempting to tackle opposite number Blake Ferguson as the Roosters winger returned a clearing kick when he collected a stray forearm to the head that left him on the ground and in a bad way.
The game was stopped for a number of minutes as club doctors assessed the situation, with Mata'utia able to get to his feet before he was helped from the field in a medi-cab as the crowd clapped him off.
It was a frightening moment for a player who has managed just five games in the past three seasons due to injuries, but according to Brown, Friday's setback was nothing structural and not Ferguson's fault.
"It's a bad concussion but nothing else but concussion which is great, even though it's a pretty bad one. There's nothing broken or nothing bad which [is good news] because Chanel's had a bad run with injuries so we all feared the worst," he said.
"I need to look at it again, but I'm sure if there was a problem, they'll look at it. My first initiation of it was that it was just bad luck. That was my initial thought but obviously I'd need to see it again."
It was also a scary moment for Knights skipper Sione Mata'utia who has had his own concussion issues over the years and had to watch on as his older brother stayed on the ground in obvious discomfort.
"You don't like to see it, but with the help of the physio and the doctors there, I knew he was in great hands so I had no doubt that he was going to be okay," he said.
"I've been on the back of some bad knocks as well so credit to our staff… he's in good hands."
Chanel will undergo the concussion protocols in the coming days and will hopefully return to full fitness in the coming weeks so he can renew his partnership with mid-season recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall who made a solid start to his career as a Knight.
The right winger had a mixed night against his former side with Kenny-Dowall scoring Newcastle's only try while he also came up with an error when he was in space.
His combination with Dane Gagai on the right edge will only get better with time and Brown said there were enough positives there to suggest it could be the start of a promising career in Newcastle.
"I thought he had some really good stuff and I thought he had a couple of things where he was a bit rusty which you'd expect because he hasn't played for a few months and was playing with some new personnel," Brown said.
"He had a couple of carries when the pressure was on that got us out of trouble and got us in a position to make a line break. At 16-4 we were really under the pump and it was his carry that helped get us going to get the momentum to put us in the contest.
"That's what he's done for the Roosters for a long time and he actually does good things in key moments of games so that was a real pleasing part of his game. The more of that we get, the closer we'll get to getting a win."