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Shoulder injury leaves Daniel Saifiti in doubt for World Cup

WOUNDED: Daniel Saifiti braved the pain barrier against Canberra. Picture: Jonathan CarrollKNIGHTS prop Daniel Saifiti is in danger of missing the World Cup after suffering a partially dislocated shoulder in Friday night’s 46-28 loss in Canberra.
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DOUBT: English import Joe Wardle will need to overcome an ankle injury to play against Cronulla.

Saifiti is awaiting the result of scans and hopes to play in Sunday’s final-round clash with Cronulla at McDonald Jones Stadium, but Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has admitted there is a chance the 21-year-old will require surgery.

If so, that would almost certainly cost him the chance to represent Fiji at the World Cup.

Daniel and twin brother Jacob have both represented Fiji in mid-yearPacific Tests and were shaping as key figures for the Bati in theend-of-season tournament.

GONE: Korbin Sims won’t play again this season after fracturing his arm in Thursday’s loss to Parramatta.

In another body blow for the Fijians, who made the semi-finals at the 2013 World Cup, Brisbane’s Korbin Sims appears unlikely to be available after suffering a fractured arm in Thursday’s loss to Parramatta.

Fiji have a host of quality outside backs at their disposal –including Suliasi Vunivalu, Akuila Uate, Waqa Blake, Kevin Naiqama and possibly Jarryd Hayne –but are light-on for NRL-standard forwards.

In the likely absence of Sims and Daniel Saifiti, they will be relying heavily on Jacob Saifiti and Roosters duo Kane Evans andEloni Vunakece.

Knights officials will be desperately hoping that if Saifiti does need surgery, it is not a full shoulder reconstruction, which would probably mean his entire pre-season was spent in recovery-and-rehabilitation mode.

Knights coach Nathan Brown said Saifiti “gave a good account of himself’’ when he insisted on playing through the pain barrier against Canberra.

“They’re starting to learn that there is injured, and there is hurt,’’ Brown said.

“There’s two different things and some of them are starting to learn that.”

Saifiti has played in 21 games for Newcastle this season and will be a contender for their player-of-the-year award, along with Dane Gagai, Sione Mata’utia and Mitch Barnett.

But Brown said he is still a work in progress.

“Diet, training, sacrifices,’’ were the areas Brown identified. “He’s improved on where he was, but to get to the level we want him to get to –and more importantly to get to the level of player he should get to over his career –he’s still got some areas that he needs to work hard at.”

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