The Daily Telegraph’s Booth Rothfield has revealed the Knights are not taking the Ponga and Mann toilet cubicle incident “all that seriously” after the pair escaped NRL sanctions.
The star fullback and utility were filmed being escorted out of a toilet in a Newcastle hotel two weeks ago, sparking a club and NRL investigation.
The incident has put Newcastle’s club culture under the microscope, with many calling for Ponga to be stripped of his captaincy.
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Rothfield said if the Knights did not hand out the two internal penalties, it would show “there is still no culture” following the appointment of Peter Parr and the club’s new director of football.
“I was told they didn’t take it all that seriously when they told us their captain and their injured teammate were out when they had to treat injuries,” Rothfield told NRL360 on Wednesday night.
If nothing happens it will show that, despite the appointment of Peter Parr, there is still no strong leadership at Newcastle Knights and there is still no culture there.
“Because you have to act…the club captain was having a drink while he was injured.”
Ponga has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a series of blows to the head, while Mann is sidelined with a quad injury.
Rothfield claims the club captain’s injuries and drinks “says everything” about the Knights – but NRL360 co-host Paul Kent says the NRL can never prove they’ve done anything wrong.
“I understand the NRL’s point of view, they don’t know what’s in there, even if they’re drug tested, if they test positive we don’t know, even if they test positive the NRL still can’t prove anything happened. In that cubicle,” said Kent.
“Kenty, it says everything about the culture, if this is the character, someone has finished seven games this year, it says everything about the culture of the club,” Rothfield said.
“He’s gone seven games, their $1.1 million superstar, he’s been ruled out for the rest of the season, he’s going to a bar with another injured player, he’s drinking bourbon with his teammates or whatever in the kitchen, and nothing happens.
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I don’t expect it to be suspended for a month… but three weeks have passed and nothing has happened.
The Knights believe the two players have been punished and Australia’s Brent Reid Ponga and Mann will only receive fines.
“I think they will act somehow, I don’t think it will be difficult,” Read
“Peter Parr was at Paul Green’s funeral yesterday, he was in Queensland for that, give him a chance, he’s got a lot going on.
“I think they will be punished for something.”
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