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Knights centre Bradman Best.

Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best have declared themselves certain starters in Saturday night's crunch clash with Canberra which could determine Newcastle's finals fate.

Star fullback Ponga downplayed a sternum injury while explosive centre Best is fully fit after five games out with an ankle issue.

The pair are also hopeful that halfback Mitchell Pearce, who has been named in jersey 21, will return from a hamstring strain.

After back-to-back losses to the Storm and Roosters, the Knights (11th) will need their main attacking weapons firing in what is essentially a four-point match against the resurgent Raiders (9th).

"My heart is a little bit more hurt than my body at the moment with the way the [Roosters] game panned out," Ponga said.

"Physically, I feel pretty good. Definitely [will play this weekend]. It's just like a bruise," he added, saying that a pain-killing injection "gets me back" to feeling close to his normal self.

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"My chest doesn't get me around the park - at the end of the day, my legs do. So in terms of getting involved and being on the ball and stuff like that, it doesn't affect me at all."

Best, who has been restricted to 10 games this year, is raring for action. The 19-year-old is set to add strike power to the left edge.

"It's been a pretty tough six weeks, but I can see the finish line and [the ankle] has healed pretty well," Best said.

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"I'm 100 per cent ready to go. I got cleared at the end of last week. I've passed all my fitness tests, done all that ... I can't wait."

While Newcastle are only two points outside the top eight, a loss to Canberra - one of three teams a win ahead of the Knights - would make it difficult to reach the playoffs with six rounds left.

"They've hit some good form and they've really played some good footy the last few weeks. We need to play our best footy and it'll be a good game. Us boys, we're all up for it," Best said.

Ponga is "confident" of Newcastle charging into the finals.

"Excited about the challenge that's ahead of us. I think we can do it with a lot of hard work," the Maroons No.1 said.

He felt there was a lack of clarity in their game as they faded in the second half of the 28-8 loss to the Roosters after a bright start.

"I think everyone should take it more personally and really, throughout the week, prepare the best they can to perform," he said.

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"The result [against Canberra] is important, but it's about the process before it. We’ve lacked that the last couple of weeks."

As for Pearce's potential return, Ponga is optimistic.

"Fingers crossed. I think, from what he's saying to us, he's doing everything he can to get back," Ponga said.

"His involvement in around the team and the boys and everything has been very hands-on in terms of what we want to do this week.

"I'm hoping he is [playing], obviously, but I guess no one really knows their body unless it's them."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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