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Senior figures want Mitchell Pearce out at Newcastle after sexting scandal

Some senior figures in the Newcastle club no longer want star halfback Mitchell Pearce at the club following his sexting scandal with a female employee.

Officials are concerned at a split that has developed in the playing group in the wake of the scandal – that saw Pearce’s fiancee call off their wedding this week – going public.

The staffer is a close friend of several players, most notably respected back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon, and his relationship with Pearce is now described as ‘icy’.

Officials are worried that the situation in the playing group will be untenable as a result of the scandal and are considering releasing Pearce to a rival NRL club.

A swap with another club for a playmaker is another option.

Pearce is already expected to be stripped of the Newcastle captaincy but some within the club believe harsher action is necessary to retain harmony among the playing group.

The club’s players and staff are on Christmas/New Year break until January 4 but officials are assessing their options.

One possibility is to bring Cowboy Jake Clifford – who has signed with the Knights for 2022 – to the club a year early.

Another is Gareth Widdop, who is contracted to English club Warrington but is desperate to come back to Australia to be closer to his children.

But all this hinges on whether another club would be willing to pick up Pearce, who has a year to run on his deal.

At 31, he remains one of the most talented halfbacks in the competition and a fresh start may be the best thing for both him and the Knights.

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