Newcastle coach Fab Flournoy is facing an injury crisis ahead of their highly-anticipated early season clash against Sheffield Sharks.
Both sides are heavily fancied for a tilt at the league title this season, having both narrowly missed out to Mersey Tigers last campaign.
But the Eagles have been dealt yet another injury blow with the news that new signing Joel Madourie is out for up to six weeks with knee ligament damage.
Charles Smith (hamstring) and Andrew Bridge (facial) are both expected to miss practice throughout the week and could be doubtful for the match at EIS Sheffield.
Flournoy told the local press: ““The Sheffield head-to-head is very big for us at this stage of the season and these injuries won’t help us.
“Apart from Joel, who will be out for a minimum of three weeks with his knee injury, I don’t think we will be missing Charles or Andrew for the weekend game.
“But with both of their injuries they just need rest – Charles has tweaked his hamstring so won’t be involved much this week while Andrew can’t afford another elbow in the face after having stitches just above his eyebrow.
“It is more about the effect it has on practice than anything, because I believe that practice is important in the run up to games like this.
“But we’ll just have to assess Bridgey and Charles and see where we are with them.”