live Infotainment Factory: Knights boss refutes 'toxic' Pearce claims

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Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Knights boss refutes 'toxic' Pearce claims


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Newcastle boss Philip Gardner has hit back at suggestions his management sabotaged the Knights' NRL season following the exit of coach Nathan Brown.

Newcastle's management have come under fire in recent days for the handling of the Brown situation, notably while their season is still on the line.

Club legend Andrew Johns has been among the most vocal critics, demanding answers from the likes of Gardner after Brown announced his intention to quit last week.

Ponga's Brown comment 'terrible, disrespectful'

There have also been claims club officials - namely recruitment manager Troy Pezet - went behind Brown's back to organise discussions with likely successor Adam O'Brien.

But in a letter to Newcastle fans, Gardner claimed his office was being unfairly treated and said the club had to make a decision for change after Brown's rebuild.

"Suggestions of sabotage from the front office while finals were at stake is ludicrous," Gardner wrote.

"The information economy and transfer of favours that exists in rugby league is concerning and something beyond control.

"Yes, we are in a situation where we have a first-class roster but are lacking results.

"The outcomes this season have been unacceptable. At the start of the year, we set a goal to win most of our games at McDonald Jones Stadium and become a top defensive side.

"You want better performances and you deserve them. You are frustrated. We hear you."

Newcastle can still make the NRL finals if they win their last two games against the Gold Coast and Penrith, with other results going their way.

Gardner also denied claims Kalyn Ponga had requested a contract extension worth $1.5 million a year, and defended captain Mitchell Pearce after The Daily Telegraph reported there was a 'toxic' split in the dressing room and that senior players, including Pearce and David Klemmer, had turned against Brown in his final days at the club.

Brown left the club effective immediately on Tuesday, after he was believed to have issued an ultimatum to players following Saturday's 46-4 flogging by Wests Tigers.

Joey unloads over Knights 'sabotage'

It came after he initially planned to step away at the end of the season.

"I must stress, Mitchell is not responsible for what is happening at the club and is hurting as much as anyone," Gardner said.

"He is a winner and loves playing this game.

"He has been honest in his assessment of his own performances in recent weeks. There is little more you can ask from him as a leader."

Newcastle boss Philip Gardner has hit back at suggestions his management sabotaged the Knights' NRL season following the exit of coach Nathan Brown.

Newcastle's management have come under fire in recent days for the handling of the Brown situation, notably while their season is still on the line.

Club legend Andrew Johns has been among the most vocal critics, demanding answers from the likes of Gardner after Brown announced his intention to quit last week.

Ponga's Brown comment 'terrible, disrespectful'

There have also been claims club officials - namely recruitment manager Troy Pezet - went behind Brown's back to organise discussions with likely successor Adam O'Brien.

But in a letter to Newcastle fans, Gardner claimed his office was being unfairly treated and said the club had to make a decision for change after Brown's rebuild.

"Suggestions of sabotage from the front office while finals were at stake is ludicrous," Gardner wrote.

"The information economy and transfer of favours that exists in rugby league is concerning and something beyond control.

"Yes, we are in a situation where we have a first-class roster but are lacking results.

"The outcomes this season have been unacceptable. At the start of the year, we set a goal to win most of our games at McDonald Jones Stadium and become a top defensive side.

"You want better performances and you deserve them. You are frustrated. We hear you."

Newcastle can still make the NRL finals if they win their last two games against the Gold Coast and Penrith, with other results going their way.

Gardner also denied claims Kalyn Ponga had requested a contract extension worth $1.5 million a year, and defended captain Mitchell Pearce after The Daily Telegraph reported there was a 'toxic' split in the dressing room and that senior players, including Pearce and David Klemmer, had turned against Brown in his final days at the club.

Brown left the club effective immediately on Tuesday, after he was believed to have issued an ultimatum to players following Saturday's 46-4 flogging by Wests Tigers.

Joey unloads over Knights 'sabotage'

It came after he initially planned to step away at the end of the season.

"I must stress, Mitchell is not responsible for what is happening at the club and is hurting as much as anyone," Gardner said.

"He is a winner and loves playing this game.

"He has been honest in his assessment of his own performances in recent weeks. There is little more you can ask from him as a leader."

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