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Players union supporting Knights enforcer before unprecedented hearing

LESS than a month after Knights coach Adam O'Brien praised David Klemmer's "high care factor", the former Test prop faces a disciplinary hearing that could determine if he has played his last game for the club.

Klemmer has been stood down after he was issued on Tuesday with a show-cause notice in relation to an incident in Sunday's 24-10 loss to Canterbury, in which he appeared to ignore a directive from Newcastle trainer Hayden Knowles to leave the field.

The 28-year-old eventually made his way to the sideline but was reported to have directed disparaging comments at Knowles, on the field and after he left it.

The club has copped a backlash on social media after what would appear, at face value, a remarkably harsh reaction to a relatively minor indiscretion.

Whether or not there is more to the story remains unclear, because all parties involved were tight-lipped on Wednesday as they prepare for a likely legal showdown next week.

HEART AND SOUL: Knights enforcer David Klemmer is popular with his fellow players, and also Newcastle's fan base. Picture: Getty Images

Knights chief executive Philip Gardner told the Newcastle Herald via text message: "We will not be making any further comment.

"Due process is a priority, as is procedural fairness."

Klemmer said he was unable to comment, and apologised to readers of his weekly Newcastle Herald column, which will not appear in League HQ today.

It is understood he has been told to train by himself until the matter is resolved.

The unprecedented development has led to speculation that Knights officials are intent on sacking Klemmer, who has one season to run on an $800,000-a-year contract.

The Daily Telegraph reported that "his deal could be terminated as early as Wednesday", but the Herald has been told Klemmer's advisers have a minimum of five days to prepare a case for the hearing.

Klemmer was linked earlier in the week to a loan deal with Parramatta, but he told the Herald on Monday the report was "not true, I'm committed to the club".

Rugby League Players' Association CEO Clint Newton has been liaising with Klemmer and his advisors.

"We are in communication with David and are supporting him and his representatives through this process," Newton said.

"Before we can make any further comment, we need to gather more information, particularly from the club, and will work with all parties to resolve this matter."

It was only last month, after Klemmer was sent off in the last minute for an incident against South Sydney which ultimately led to a $1000 fine, that O'Brien defended him at the post-match press conference.

"He's got a high care factor, Klem," O'Brien said at the time. "He's put in 60, close to 70-odd minutes and he's frustrated and let his emotions take over there. He's not Robinson Crusoe for that to happen ... [he shows] a massive amount of care."

Earlier in the season, O'Brien had been touting Klemmer as a chance for a State of Origin recall, having been overlooked by the Blues since 2019.

"He has earned the right to be in those conversations," O'Brien said in May.

"He has been ultra-consistent and arguably our best player.

"He has certainly put himself in the frame to be talked about for Origin.

"I don't know if there is much more that he could do."

The astounding episode has led to reports that Klemmer's teammates will rally around him and front Newcastle's management to voice their disapproval, over an issue that could apparently have been dealt with behind closed doors.

In Klemmer's absence, the Knights face Wests Tigers at Campbelltown on Sunday in a game they need to win to avoid dropping to second-last rung on the competition ladder.

With five rounds remaining, and in the absence of skipper Kalyn Ponga after a series of recent concussions, they remain genuine contenders for the wooden spoon.

Klemmer, who most agree has been Newcastle's standout player this season, appeared a short-priced favourite to win his first Danny Buderus Medal as player of the year.

It remains to be seen if that is now in jeopardy.