NRL 2022 Andrew Johns Brad Fittler
David Klemmer should “absolutely” have come off when directed during the Knights loss to the Bulldogs last week, according to Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns.
Klemmer has been left out of the Knights squad to take on the Tigers in Campbelltown on Sunday afternoon after he gave a trainer a gobful and refused to come off the park for a substitution.
Speaking on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth, Fittler said he had never had the situation arise while he’s been coaching, and if it did, he would “make a stand”.
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“That’s your job – your job is to coach, and the players are to listen and do their best under that guidance,” he said.
He said it was “absolutely” a droppable offense.
Andrew Johns agreed, saying players have to “put the team first”.
David Klemmer. Photo: Ashley Feder (Getty)
Just a day earlier on his podcast Six Tackles with Gus, Phil Gould said he believed there was more to the story, and that it wouldn’t be uncommon for a senior player to refuse to come off.
“I don’t know how many occasions where it wouldn’t be the case that you ask someone to come off the field – particularly a senior player – and he says, ‘No go away’. (He) certainly wouldn’t be the first trainer to cop a gobful off a player,” he said.
“I don’t want to put words in (the Knights’) mouth, but I can only imagine there’s more to this. It’s not just because he didn’t come off the field or he had words with a trainer, I mean that’s not uncommon at all.”
On Thursday it was revealed that the Knights trainer who copped the abuse from Klemmer, Hayden Knowles, had made a complaint to HR, which had triggered a policy that forced the club to stand Klemmer down.
The Knights are owned by the Wests Group and followed the company policy in standing down Klemmer as a result of the formal complaint.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, that policy is now being revisited, with the combative nature of rugby league potentially putting it at odds with HR policy that is designed to protect hospitality staff.
The reported stated that the Rugby League Players Association and Klemmer’s management were working with the Knights to have him reinstated and able to return to training ASAP.
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