x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

More trouble for Knights

A second Newcastle Knights player has been charged with drug dealing as Australia's National Rugby League (NRL) still struggle with their off-the-field image.

A second Newcastle Knights player has been charged with drug dealing as Australia's National Rugby League (NRL) still struggle with their off-the-field image. The Knights said that Chris Houston, a forward, will not play for them indefinitely after he was charged with four counts of supplying prohibited drugs. The club said Houston was due to appear in court on April 13. His charges follow the termination of his teammate Danny Wicks's A$200,000 (Dh658,000)-a-year club contract after he was charged with supplying drugs on December 16 last year.

Wicks is due next to appear in court on March 31. Houston was stood down indefinitely by the Knights once reports of the charges emerged before his lawyers released a statement confirming them. "Today Chris was charged with four counts of supplying prohibited drugs and is due to appear at Newcastle Local Court on 13th April," the statement read. "In order that the team can remain focused on the competition ahead of them, Chris has indicated a willingness to stand down from the Knights while the charges are before the court. In accordance with Knights policy, Chris has been stood down pending the hearing of these charges."

The new NRL season kicks off on March 12. Meanwhile, in the UK the Rugby Football League have launched an investigation into Keith Senior's public criticism of the referee Richard Silverwood in the aftermath of Leeds' World Club Challenge defeat and have pledged a swift conclusion. The 33-year-old former Great Britain international branded the match official "arrogant" after he was penalised for dissent during the Super League champions' 18-10 defeat by the NRL champions, Melbourne Storm, in Leeds on Sunday night. "I would like to apologise for any offence caused by my comments following our defeat to Melbourne," said Senior.

* With agencies