Knights won't rush Pearce back early

Scott Bailey
Mitchell Pearce

Newcastle won't be tempted into rushing Mitchell Pearce back early from a pectoral injury after the representative round as they look to save their ailing NRL season.

Pearce hasn't played for the Knights since going down injured in round seven, as the Knights have dropped six of eight games to fall from inside the top eight to 12th position.

Newcastle have Canterbury at home after the representative round followed by the bye, meaning Pearce will miss just one game between now and his return if he comes back in four weeks.

"He won't be back for the Bulldogs game I wouldn't have thought," Brown said.

"We're reasonably hopeful that after the bye he would be back.

"He's coming along pretty good at the moment."

The Knights could have dearly done with Pearce's experience in Sunday's loss to Melbourne after they fought back to 14-10 down shortly after halftime.

They completed at just 66 per cent - their lowest of the season - as Brown lamented too many players trying to come up with big plays at crucial stages that went astray.

"He (Pearce) is the kind of player we've missed for a lot of games this year," Brown said.

"He was the last player we needed to get hurt, because all our other halves were inexperienced.

"We're expecting Jack Cogger to be a main halfback and we're expecting Kalyn Ponga to organise plays as a fullback.

"Whilst we're expecting to challenge them to that, the realisation is those things will happen over time.

"It's probably not fair on them in some ways, but for us to be in tight situations at 16-10 and for us to take the right option or kick the ball at the right time, it's not always going to happen because Mitchell Pearce wouldn't have done it when he was 19."