Trent Hodkinson Gone?

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Trent Hodkinson Gone?

Ongoing knee issues won't cut short former NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson's NRL career, Newcastle coach Nathan Brown says.

But it remains to be seen when Hodkinson will play for the Knights again after the veteran No.7 remained on the outer with the NRL battlers.

For the second straight week Hodkinson has been overlooked on form, with Brown again opting for Jaelen Feeney at halfback for Saturday's clash with the Gold Coast Titans.

Hodkinson, 28, has another year left on his contract but already appears surplus to requirements with the cashed up Knights primed for a high profile recruitment drive.

Newcastle appeared to miss Hodkinson's experience in their second half fadeout in last round's 24-12 loss to North Queensland but the veteran halfback was again a glaring omission on Tuesday.

"I just picked the team that was based around form and Hodko is a little down in confidence at the moment," Brown said.

The Knights coach made it clear it was form not fitness that had kept Hodkinson sidelined for the second straight week.

Asked if Hodkinson's knee could stop him from playing again, Brown said: "No, certainly no concern.

"His leg is far better than what it was last year."

Fitness is definitely a concern for lock Mitch Barnett (ankle) who faces up to eight weeks on the sidelines and may require surgery.

"It may be worse but we are not quite sure yet," Brown said.

Meanwhile, North Queensland named recovering co-captain Johnathan Thurston (calf) as 18th man for Friday night's clash with Parramatta.

Cowboys coach Paul Green said they would not rush Thurston back just so he could be declared fit for the May 6 trans-Tasman Test in Canberra.

Young gun Kalyn Ponga retains the Cowboys No.1 jersey with Lachlan Coote (calf) sidelined for the fourth straight week.

Parramatta have named Kenny Edwards at pivot, replacing stand-in five-eighth Brad Takairangi who is out for six weeks with a knee injury suffered last round.

South Sydney welcome back halfback Adam Reynolds (hip) for Friday night's clash with an unchanged Manly.

Reynolds pushes John Sutton to the back-row and Kyle Turner to prop, replacing the suspended George Burgess.

Penrith have named Bryce Cartwright at five-eighth for Thursday night's clash in Brisbane, but Kiwi international playmaker Te Maire Martin is still a chance to play as he recovers from a neck injury.

Cartwright keeps the No.6 jersey after filling in at pivot last week but Martin could face the Broncos after being named on an extended bench.

Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra, Melbourne and the Warriors will name their 21-man squads on Thursday.

In other news, veteran Luke Lewis returns to the backrow and fellow injury concern Gerard Beale to the wing (both hamstring) for Cronulla's Saturday night clash with an unchanged Wests Tigers.

Will Hopoate (broken cheekbone) has been named on Canterbury's extended bench for Saturday's clash with Canberra.

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