Injured Knights prop Jacob Saifiti will be sanctioned by the club but won’t be sacked after being cleared by the police for his part in an altercation outside a Newcastle hotel that left him with a broken leg.
Saifiti is facing at least three months on the sideline after undergoing surgery to have screws inserted in the fracture, which occurred when he fell awkwardly after he was knocked unconscious during the incident.
It happened outside Hamilton’s Greenroof Hotel just prior to 2.30am last Sunday after several Knights players had been out on Saturday to farewell England-bound former team-mate Luke Yates.
Police were notified of the incident on Monday and after inquiries, which included viewing CCTV footage, a 28-year-old Adamstown man attended Newcastle police station on Wednesday where he was arrested and charged with reckless grievous bodily harm.
He was granted conditional bail to appear in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday, January 10.
In a brief statement yesterday, the Knights said Saifiti had been “exonerated by the police investigation from any culpability” in relation to the incident.
“Saifiti attempted to defuse a situation involving other innocent bystanders, which led to his assault,” the statement said.
Knights CEO Phil Gardner admitted the club is relieved Saifiti has been cleared by police but said he would not go unpunished.
It’s understood he will face a hefty fine but won’t be sacked by the club.
“Jacob has no memory of the incident after being knocked out but the CCTV footage is very clear which absolved him of any wrongdoing,” Gardner said.
“But regardless of the rights or wrongs, it has brought the game and the club into a level of disrepute so that is not something we can let go.
“I’ll be sitting down with Jacob at the appropriate time and we’ll be meeting with the rest of the playing group.
“It’s another chance to make sure these things don’t happen. Culturally, it’s just not acceptable to put yourself in that situation fullstop.
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Gardner said the whole episode had left Saifiti 22, “distraught”.
“He’s home and very distraught by the whole process,” he said.
“The injury itself is a minimum of 12 weeks but it could be longer depending on how it heals.”