Sport Rugby League Newcastle Knights sack Russell Packer

Newcastle Knights sack Russell Packer

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The Newcastle Knights have sacked Russell Packer after the NRL player was sentenced to two years’ jail for a drunken assault.

The club issued a statement on Monday saying Packer had been formally advised his contract had been terminated, effective immediately.

The former Warriors forward was last week handed a two-year jail sentence, which he is appealing, after being found guilty of assaulting a man in Sydney last November.

“There was never any doubt we would terminate Russell’s employment following Monday’s sentence however we had a process,” Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said.

“As we stated from the beginning and when we stood Russell down, first and foremost it was a legal process.

“At our first opportunity to meet with Russell, we advised him in person of our decision.”

According to the statement the Knights “will continue its duty of care to ensure the welfare of Russell’s partner and two young children, who relocated to Newcastle last month”.

Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett said it was a difficult time for all parties involved.

“As a club, we knew this was a no-win situation and we accepted that,” said Bennett.

“We had a responsibility to handle this situation in a manner mindful of his young family, the club, its sponsors, members and the community as a whole.

“Until Sunday, no person including family members, had been allowed access to Russell.

“To reiterate, Russell acted independently on the night of the incident and was stood down as soon as the facts were established.

“We are all extremely disappointed and have never condoned Russell’s actions, however he still had a right to be informed of our decision first.

“Sponsors, corporate partners, members and fans who have supported the administration throughout this process knew we were doing what was right, despite criticism.”

The NRL had earlier refused to register Packer’s three-year contract with the Knights after the Integrity Unit investigated the incident.