FRINGE first-grader Marvin Filipo has been sacked by the Newcastle Knights over an off-field incident, but the club say they will consider re-employing him at the end of the season.
The Newcastle Herald understands that Filipo, who debuted in 2011 and has played in four NRL games, was involved in an altercation.
No police charges were laid and Filipo argued that he was provoked by a racist slur.
Filipo's one-year contract was terminated at a disciplinary hearing more than a week ago.
Asked to comment on the issue yesterday, Knights chief executive Matt Gidley replied by text message: "Marvin has been released from the remainder of his 2013 contract.
"The club has remained in contact with Marvin and will review his position at the completion of this season."
When the Herald asked for more details, Gidley replied: "As this was an internal matter, the club will be making no further comment."
Filipo, who started the season in the NSW Cup but had been sidelined recently with a knee injury, said yesterday that he was hoping to discuss his situation with Newcastle's coaching staff.
"I can't really talk about it," the Auckland-born 26-year-old said.
Filipo's manager, Peter Brown, confirmed last night that his client's contract had been terminated and described the whole episode as "disappointing".
‘‘I’m not going to go into details, but the Knights looked at the evidence and made their decision and Marvin has no right of appeal,’’ Brown said.
Brown said the prospect of Newcastle re-signing Filipo at the end of the season had been raised at his disciplinary hearing.
But he added the athletic back-rower was a free agent and he would be considering all options.
‘‘We’re looking at his next move, but at this late stage it’s not going to be easy to find something for this season,’’ he said.
A product of the New Zealand Warriors development system, Filipo played alongside the likes of Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei in the Junior Kiwis.
He moved to play for Nelson Bay in 2009 and two years later was offered a second-tier contract with the Knights. He debuted against the Warriors in 2011, playing two NRL games that season, and made another two appearances last season.
In 2009, Filipo and Newtown Jets player Tavite Vatuvei pleaded guilty to stealing handbags from two young women during a night out in Newcastle.
The pair told Newcastle Local Court they were intervening in a kebab shop dispute. They were both ordered to do 300 hours of community service and Vatuvei was put on a 12-month bond for assault.