Klemmer’s future at Knights clouded after being stood down for disciplinary breach

Newcastle prop David Klemmer’s future at the club is clouded after he was issued with a show cause notice relating to “on-field disciplinary matters” in Sunday’s loss to Canterbury at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Knights were reportedly close to sealing a deal to send him to Parramatta for the rest of the season but they were unable to strike an agreement with the Eels.

Klemmer is alleged to have abused a trainer after being told to come off late in the game, according to a News Corp report, and refused to leave the playing arena.

The Knights have dropped him for this Sunday’s trip to Campbelltown to face the Wests Tigers and according to the club statement, “no further correspondence will be entered into until the show cause hearing process has been completed”.

One of the highest-paid players at the club who is under contract until the end of next season, the 28-year-old former international has fallen off the representative radar in recent years at Origin level.

Knights coach Adam O’Brien said the possibility of a late mid-season transfer for Klemmer to join Parramatta was not broached with him.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: David Klemmer of the Knights is tackled during the round 20 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Canterbury Bulldogs at McDonald Jones Stadium, on July 31, 2022, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

David Klemmer. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

O’Brien has conceded he may have come across as an “egomaniac” after a “poorly-articulated” press conference following Sunday’s NRL loss to Canterbury.

After the Knights slumped to a 24-10 loss for a home record of 2-8 this season, O’Brien spoke of his track record as an assistant at the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne.

“Previous to getting this job here I was involved in four grand finals,” he said.

The 44-year-old, who took the Knights to the finals in 2020 and 2021, is currently coaching a side running 14th and on Tuesday moved to clarify his comments.

“I’d like that (press conference) back,” he said. “It looks like I’m an egomaniac but that wasn’t the message.

“I was trying to talk to the supporter who sits on the hill who must be wondering if they practice defence. Do they do tackle technique at training? Are they fit and tough?”

Adam O’Brien of the Knights during a press conference

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

O’Brien said his side had similar intensity to the Storm and the Roosters at training .

“I didn’t want to come across as taking the accolades and success of those clubs. Trent (Robinson) and Craig (Bellamy) built their clubs, I just worked there,” he said. 

“We’re not there yet and my number one job on this earth right now is to get his team to perform on game day.”

O’Brien believes he has the full backing of the Newcastle hierarchy but understands why his future would come under the microscope.

“I live in reality and I’m not stupid,” he said. “It’s a results-driven business.”

He described the Knights’ two finals finishes under him as “band-aids on a gunshot wound”.

The Knights coach said he had made mistakes during the club’s pre-season training and said Newcastle’s turnover of players in the spine positions was cause for their poor run of form.

“We missed about four weeks of pre-season (due to COVID-19) but at the end of the day that stops with me,” he said.

“I need to make sure that we’re driving a really hard pre-season – that’s the bit that I regret the most – and I’ve got to make sure I get this one right.”

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