The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield has revealed the Knights aren’t taking Ponga and Mann’s toilet cubicle incident “all that seriously” after the pair escaped NRL sanction.
The star fullback and utility were filmed being escorted out of a toilet cubicle in a Newcastle hotel two weeks ago, sparking a club and NRL investigation.
The incident thrust Newcastle’s club culture under the microscope with many calling for Ponga to be stripped of the captaincy.
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Rothfield explained that if the Knights do not hand the pair an internal penalty it shows “there is still no culture” following the appointment of Peter Parr and the club’s new director of football.
“I am told they are not treating it all that seriously, that their captain and their injured teammate went out when they were supposed to be treating injuries,” Rothfield said on NRL360 on Wednesday night.
“I think if nothing happens it shows that, despite the appointment of Peter Parr, there is still no strong leadership at the Newcastle Knights and there is still no culture there.
“Because you have got to be taking action… they were out drinking while injured, the captain of the club.”
Ponga was ruled out of the remainder of the season after suffering multiple head knocks, while Mann remains sidelined with a quad injury.
Rothfield explained that the club’s captain being out drinking while injured “says everything” about the Knights — while NRL360 co-host Paul Kent said the NRL would never have been able to prove wrongdoing.
“I understand the NRL’s viewpoint, they don’t know what was in there, even if they were drug tested, if they tested positive we don’t know, even if they did test positive the NRL still couldn’t prove that anything happening in that cubicle,” Kent said.
“Kenty, it says everything about the culture, if this behaviour, one guy has finished seven games this year, it says everything about the club culture,” Rothfield said.
“He has finished seven games, their $1.1 million superstar, he is ruled out for the rest of the season, he goes to the pub with another injured player, he is drinking bourbon or whatever in a cubicle with his teammates and nothing happens.
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“I don’t expect him to be suspended for a month… but it has been three weeks and nothing happened.”
The Knights are yet to announce the duo had been punished and The Australian’s Brent Read believes Ponga and Mann will only receive a monetary fine.
“I think they will act on it in some way, I don’t think it will be severe,” Read said.
“Peter Parr was at Paul Green’s funeral yesterday, he was in Queensland for that, give him a chance, he has had a lot to deal with.
“I’d imagine they will cop something, a fine.”
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