Mitchell Pearce is set to be stripped of the Newcastle Knights captaincy and will have to front teammates and explain himself this week after his ‘flirty’ texts to a club staffer preceded the abandoment of his wedding at short notice.
Pearce will return to the club for preseason training, with the condemnation of the Knights’ general manager of football Danny Buderus ringing in his ears, after the former club great slammed Pearce’s behaviour as ‘not acceptable’.
Buderus also strongly hinted that Pearce will be stood down as captain, and said there will be a ‘personal impact’ on the 31-year-old in upcoming contract negotiations.
Pearce was due to marry his glamorous fiancee Kristin Scott on December 29 in Byron Bay before 150 guests but that was called off, with some guests getting less than a week’s notice of the changed plans.
It came after he was found to have sent ‘flirty’ text messages to a female staffer, which were discovered by the staffer’s partner and became known to his fiancee.
Footy star Mitchell Pearce (pictured left) and fiancee Kristin Scott are still getting married – the wedding is only postponed, Pearce has said
Knights general manager of football Danny Buderus has hinted Pearce may lose the captaincy but so far has thrown his support behind the much-loved veteran
Mitchell Pearce and Kristin Scott (pictured above) at the Knights 2020 presentation night. Pearce is a highly respected player and will face his teammates later this week
Buderus said the club culture is ‘highly important and we need those players to adhere to that.’
‘There are standards in all parts of our organisation and that behaviour is not acceptable.’
Pearce had told the Daily Telegraph the wedding had not been cancelled, only postponed, and that Covid-related restrictions were to blame.
‘I’m filthy about people spreading rumours,’ he said.
However,senior Knights management along with coach Adam O’Brien are said to be prepared to take the captaincy from Pearce.
The couple (pictured) began dating early in 2019, with Ms Scott moving to Newcastle to live with Pearce. There is no suggest Pearce had any relations with the young staffer that went beyond a flirty text
‘Maybe that was going to be part of the leadership model moving forward anyway, with getting that pressure off Mitchell to play his own game,’ Buderus said on Monday.
‘Mitchell likes to be captain and if it was to go that way, it would hurt.’
Pearce would also have to front his teammates, who began preseason training on Monday, and explain his behaviour.
‘It definitely needs to be addressed, there’s no doubt about that, when he comes back, otherwise it will fester in amongst the group,’ Buderus said.
‘Mitch would like it that way. Anyone that walks into that group needs to understand what they’ve all gone through and what the club has gone through and the pressure the club has been under … there needs to be something said and once it’s said, we can all move on.’
Pearce (pictured above) won a premiership with the Roosters in 2013 and is a leading halfback in the NRL, a veteran of 297 NRL games, and is a much-valued talent at the Knights
The long-term boyfriend of the female staff member uncovered a number of flirtatious messages sent to her by Pearce, it has been reported.
The staff member’s partner, who is reportedly furious over the texts, is said to be friends with several of the Newcastle Knights players, including forward Lachlan Fitzgibbon.
Following the bombshell development, a number of his teammates are reportedly ‘off’ Pearce.
The events come at a bad time for Pearce, who is out of contract at the end of this season, with Buderus warning it will have an impact on negotiations but denying there is a chance of him walking out on the club.
‘We’re still going through that (contract renegotiation) process. There’s (going to be) a lot of personal impact for Mitchell, professionally as well.
‘There is nothing for us to say he won’t be a part of us in 2021.
‘Just because you (are or are not) going to be captain doesn’t mean you won’t be here.’
Ms Scott shared a picture of herself with Pearce after the State of Origin final in June
Ms Scott recently stated ‘everything fell into place’ after meeting Pearce (pictured above) and he gushed that he ‘couldn’t wait’ to get married
In the days leading up to Christmas, Pearce told the Newcastle Herald he was looking forward to the wedding.
‘It will be the best time of our life and I can’t wait,’ he said.
Many people at the Knights credited Scott with helping ‘wild child’ Pearce finally find maturity and stability off the field.
A source from the Knights revealed ‘nothing physical’ had transpired between Pearce and the young woman who works at the club.
‘It was just stupidity on Mitchell’s behalf,’ they said. ‘A lot of people are upset about it.’
Pearce joined the Knights in 2018 after starting his NRL career with the Sydney Roosters in 2007.
He won a premiership with the the Tricolours in 2013 and has made 19 appearances for NSW in State of Origin, finally winning a series last year.
Pearce’s show-stopping dramas away from the footy field
2014 – Kings Cross, Sydney – Then on the books of the Sydney Roosters, the halfback was arrested and issued with an infringement notice for failing to leave a licensed premises. Later revealed he made advances to a woman in a ‘yellow dress’ who declined to take the matter further. Fined $20,000 by his club, banned for one match
2016 – Australia Day – filmed simulating a sex act with a dog in another person’s apartment before declaring he ‘didn’t have’ a sexuality. Fined a whopping $125,000 by the NRL and suspended for eight games
2020 – December – Pearce’s wedding to fiancee Kristin Scott is called off after the footy star is caught sending racy messages to a female staff member at the Newcastle Knights