Wedding crasher: What flirty texts could cost Pearce
Mitchell Pearce's captaincy position at the Newcastle Knights is under review following revelations of an inappropriate text message exchange with a young female club employee that led to the cancellation of his wedding.
Chief executive Phil Gardner and coach Adam O'Brien are known to be bitterly disappointed by his actions in the week leading up to Christmas and just days before his wedding.
Up to 150 guests had been invited to Pearce's wedding to fiancee Kristin Scott in Byron Bay on Tuesday. The guests were only notified last Wednesday that the wedding was off and were scrambling over the weekend to cancel accommodation and flights.
Pearce said coronavirus restrictions were to blame for the cancellation but The Sunday Telegraph revealed over the weekend the 31-year-old halfback had opened up to teammates after being caught out in a text message scandal that involved a young female employee of the Knights.
He and his partner spent Christmas apart with their families.
The issue has now put his captaincy and long-term future at the club in a shaky position.
Especially at an outfit with so much young talent emerging in the likes of Bradman Best and Tex Hoy.
The Knights are now looking at other options, although there are no standout contenders.
Superstar fullback Kalyn Ponga is at least 12 months away from taking on such a role.
Front-rowers Dave Klemmer and Daniel Saifiti are the club's most experienced rep players but don't have standout leadership claims.
A Newcastle Knights source has told The Daly Telegraph: "The club is crying out for better leadership. This doesn't help us because the coach has worked hard to lift standards over the last 12 months."
Everyone is allowed to make a mistake but Pearce now has a long history of stuffing up and being caught out with inappropriate actions.
O'Brien and Gardner would not answer phone calls or text messages over the weekend.
The only response came from the club's head of media and communications Frank Barrett.
"The Newcastle Knights are aware of the issue (text messages) but it's a private matter that stays between the two individuals," he said. "There will be no further comment."
Pearce is also off contract at the end of next season and was already stuck in a contract stalemate with the club.
Pearce is on $1 million a year at the Knights but has been offered just half of that amount to extend for another two years. That was before this latest drama.
There is talk he could even finish up back at the Wests Tigers, with the links to the Balmain Tigers where his father Wayne was a club legend.
The Knights will return to training on January 4 when the issue will be fully addressed.
A source close to the Knights said: The 31-year-old Newcastle Knights skipper and Scott spent Christmas Day separately with their families.
Pearce's fiancee has seen the text messages as has the woman's distraught partner.
Pearce and Ms Scott recently opened a fitness business in Newcastle and have often spoken about the excitement of getting married and starting a family.
They were engaged in April when Pearce spent $40,000 on a stunning engagement ring.
Pearce has had one of the more colourful careers of all NRL stars, although he has worked hard to repair his reputation in recent years since moving to the Knights.
In 2016 he was fined $125,000 and suspended for eight NRL games as punishment for the lewd video scandal involving an Australia Day drinking binge.
Afterwards he spent time in a Thailand rehab facility to work on his issues.
Originally published as Wedding crasher: What flirty texts could cost Pearce