Matty Johns makes a point about NRL Knight-mare as Klemmer controversy rages on

Matty Johns makes a point about NRL Knight-mare as Klemmer controversy rages on

Newcastle legend Matthew Johns says the Knights overreacted by issuing David Klemmer with a “show cause” notice and standing him down after he blew up at a trainer last weekend.

Klemmer refused to come off the field late in the second half of his side’s 14-point loss to the Bulldogs, spraying trainer Hayden Knowles.

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The saga surrounding the front-rower sparked rumours he could be sacked, while reports emerged of an unhappy camp at Newcastle — who are in danger of claiming the wooden spoon at the end of what’s been a disastrous season.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Klemmer was stood down due to the company policy of the Wests Group, who own the Knights, after a formal HR complaint was lodged against him.

Rumours about Klemmer’s potential axing from Newcastle have since died down and coach Adam O’Brien reportedly has no issue with his prop. But there are suggestions changes are afoot in Newcastle after too many years of mediocrity.

Club legend Johns said the Knights are at a low ebb and criticised how Klemmer’s situation has been handled, given he saw players refuse to come off “a thousand times” during his career.

“It’s led to a big situation. The situation itself (isn’t a big deal) – I’m really surprised. He sprayed a trainer, he didn’t want to come off. He’s been stood down, apparently his Knights career is in the balance for refusing to leave and giving a trainer a spray,” Johns told Fox League on Thursday night.

“I’ve seen that a thousand times. I just think it’s an overreaction. Even if it isn’t, and you want to address it, I don’t know why and how it’s turned up in the public domain … I can’t get my head around it.

“You see it a million times, a bloke’s going (off) to the trainer – there’s always argy-bargy.”

Former NSW forward Bryan Fletcher said it would be a “disgrace” if the Knights were trying to use this episode to justify moving Klemmer on, in order to free up space in the salary cap.

However, reports this week say that’s not the case.

The drama comes after O’Brien was criticised for his post-match press conference after the loss to Canterbury. Speaking to reporters, O’Brien said he’d been involved in four grand finals as an assistant coach with the Roosters and Storm, so knows what it takes to win — even though he’s overseen underwhelming results at Newcastle.

Johns said it’s been an “absolute bludger of a week” for his former club, adding: “The press conference after the game, (after which) Adam O’Brien was criticised for a lot of his comments, talking about his four premierships as an assistant.

“I can’t be too critical of Adam with this – he’s a coach without answers for a fanbase asking a lot of questions. He’s really at a loss at the moment.”

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