Hastings adamant Knights can fire without Ponga
Jackson Hastings insists Newcastle's attack can still fire without Kalyn Ponga, adamant his game does not need to change without the superstar five-eighth.
Ponga's return date from his concussion remains unknown, after the 24-year-old saw his neurologist on Thursday following his fourth head injury in 10 months.
The Knights still looked dangerous for parts of Friday's 36-20 loss to the Dolphins, with Hastings and new five-eighth Tyson Gamble creating chances in patches on the edges.
Hastings kicked for a try for Gamble, while fullback Lachlan Miller had his best game for the Knights with two tries.
Hastings is adamant the Knights' game does not need to change in Ponga's absence, and nor does he have to take a firmer grip on the team's attack.
"My role doesn't really change ... I'm the most dominant half regardless. If anything, Tyson is more dominant than KP," Hastings said.
"Obviously, we would like to have him, but Tyson is doing some really good things.
"Our combination is working, we play pretty similar.
"It was the first game that we have got Bradman (Best) some clean early ball. He'll only get better with that."
Hastings' importance to Newcastle without Ponga was laid bare late in the defeat, when they lost their way with him off the field for a HIA.
The 27-year-old did not want to be critical of the independent doctor, but was visibly frustrated on being sent for a concussion check after a late hit to the back from Felise Kaufusi.
"It's frustrating when you are 100 per cent fine like I was," Hastings said.
"There was nothing. Not even a percentage in me was concussed.
"It makes it hard, but it is what it is. They are looking after the players and you just have to go off.
"I have nothing bad to say, it's just one of those things where I would like to be on the field at the end of the game and try and win it."
The playmaker's effort came after a week in the headlines for the post-game spat with Wests Tigers centre Tommy Talau, after Hastings attempted to apologise for breaking his nose with a high tackle.
Hastings confirmed the pair had spoken during the week, and he had accepted an apology from his former teammate on how he reacted.
"He reached out and apologised for reacting the way he did. It's dead and buried in my opinion," Hastings said.
"It was disappointing it got caught on camera. I probably have to be smarter and wait for the heat of the moment to go out of it.
"If I could have my time over again I would let the heat go out of it and maybe go in the sheds and apologise.
"I watched him go through a 10-and-a-half-month knee recovery.
"He got himself in prime position and was playing good footy, and it was my fault that's been taken away."