Newcastle Knights have announced a new five-man leadership squad following Mitchell Pearce’s decision to step down as captain ahead of the coming season.
Today, the Knights announced that Mitch Barnett, Kalyn Ponga, Daniel Saifiti, Blake Green and Jayden Brailey will form the group destined to bring the Knights back to the final for a consecutive season.
The club said the players were chosen after a “thorough selection process” and that all five would lead “both on and off the pitch throughout 2021”.
The club also announced that a decision on the single player who will be named captain will be made in the coming weeks.
New reimagined Knights leadership comes after Pearce handed over his captain’s post following a texting scandal involving a female club staff member.
Pearce has reportedly told club officials that he intends to quit and try to save his relationship with partner Kristin Scott.
Pearce was supposed to marry Scott at a 150-person wedding in Byron Bay over the Christmas period, before allegations surfaced he had “flirty texts” to a member of club staff, who was also in a long term relationship.
Pearce struggled to contain his emotions as he publicly addressed the texting scandal that cost him the Knights harbor master’s office.
Green touted as Pearce’s successor
Visibly distressed, he read a statement prepared at a press conference earlier this month, revealing the “traumatic” impact the saga had on him, with his relationship in tatters following the annulment of his planned marriage to her. fiancee Kristin Scott.
He said he regretted the pain he caused Scott, his family and the club.
“For me, these few weeks have been traumatic for my personal life and the ones I love,” Pearce said.
“Sadly, my actions have had an impact on the team and, more importantly, on those closest to me, Kristin and my family.
“I’m taking action now to resolve these issues and for me to step down as captain this season.
“I love this club and I love my family and I am committed to working as hard as possible to be the best man I can be on and off the pitch.
“I appreciate a little respect to move forward and a little time to get back to training.”