Former Newcastle Knights winger James McManus is set to sue Newcastle Knights over the concussion which ended his career in the NRL.
The Scotland-born winger played 166 NRL games, and also represented New South Wales in State of Origin.
He suffered the last of a series of concussions in last season’s game against South Sydney in round 20 of the NRL.
He was sidelined for the rest of the campaign, and has since retired from playing rugby league.
He now works in a business development role in the club’s corporate team.
The case begins with a directions hearing in the Supreme Court in Australia next month.
Knights chairman Brian McGuigan insisted that the club would respect the former player’s right to take legal action, but would also be defending their conduct in relation to McManus’s concussions.
“If he is deemed to be fit, all we do is abide by that, all we have ever done is abide by that,” McGuigan told Fairfax Media.
“We have never put anyone under pressure to go back on the field were they not approved by the medical staff as being ready to go back on the field.
“In Newcastle we have a very good screening operation, together with Hunter Area Health for those concussion incidents.
“We think we have not done anything wrong and would certainly not do anything wrong by any of the players and ask them to do anything that was untoward to their long-standing health condition.
McGuigan also outlined that the case, which has the potential to be hugely significant for rugby league and other football codes in Australia, does not alter McManus’s enployment with the club.
“We have not changed his status at all,” he explained.
“From his point of view, he needs to look to his long-term wellbeing. If he and his doctors think he has had some injury, then he has a right to sue.
“But at the same time, we deny any responsibility on the basis that our doctors said he was OK to return to the field.
“We would never contemplate forcing anyone to go back onto the field.
“We are doing everything in step with what we should do in a legal sense to make sure we protect the club and the NRL against such action because we believe we have no case to answer.”