Facing eight drug related charges filed by police, Newcastle prop Danny Wicks has eased the pressure on his team mates by terminating his contract.
The 24-year-old has opted out of his three-year deal worth around $200,000 a season, after reports emerged that another Knights player is also being investigated for drug-related offences.
In a statement released to the media through his lawyer, Wicks said it was not fair to his team-mates that they be included in the speculation.
It read: “I have a very high regard for the Club, its supporters and its sponsors.”
“Importantly, the players have been put under enormous scrutiny and pressure which they do not deserve.
“It’s the right thing for me to do so the club can move forward.
“The Knights have a strict code of conduct which I have always supported and I feel obliged to disassociate myself from the Club until my matter is resolved.”
His manager Steve Gillis meanwhile, says the decision by Wicks to leave the Knights is personal.
He told the Australian Associated Press: “It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with the court case, it’s an individual decision because he could see that his teammates and club were copping a pounding as a result of his arrest and he just felt that the best thing to do would be to step away and take some of that pressure off them.”
“His mater will go through the courts and be dealt with and he’s made it clear he’s going to defend the charges.”
Newcastle Knights Chief Executive, Steve Burraston said Wicks’ decision is in the best interests of himself and his former club.
“We support Danny’s decision and understand that this is in the best interests of all involved,” said Mr Burraston.
“Danny has many challenges ahead and we understand the reasons behind his decision.”
Mr Burraston reaffirmed the club’s position following more media reports this morning quoting unnamed sources and fuelling further speculation.
“As I said in a statement earlier this week, some very serious allegations have been reported in the last week. There is an ongoing police investigation and we have no intention of hindering their investigation in any way.”
“We don’t act on rumours and innuendo and until such times that we are presented with solid evidence we won’t be taking matters into our own hands. It is a matter for police and they are much better placed to deal with such matters.”