Adam O’Brien is said to be on notice at the Newcastle Knights, with the under pressure coach reportedly battling to save his NRL job.
A loss to the Wests Tigers on Sunday at Campbelltown Sports Stadium could be the final straw for the Knights board.
And they aren’t shy in pulling the trigger when it comes to sacking head coaches – just ask the likes of Rick Stone and Nathan Brown.
The club is also desperate to avoid another wooden spoon – it would be their fourth in eight seasons.
With Michael Maguire – sacked by the Tigers in June – keen to return to NRL coaching, O’Brien has every reason to feel a tad nervous.
And it can now be revealed the Knights approached Maguire to take over not long after he won a premiership with the Rabbitohs in 2014 – but he elected to stay at Redfern.
The sliding doors moment will leave Newcastle fans pondering what might have been – and as some club identities pointed out, Maguire, who is also the New Zealand rugby league head coach – is currently a free agent when it comes to the NRL.
Insiders at the Knights want O’Brien to succeed, but their patience is wearing thin.
Sitting in 14th spot is unacceptable in the eyes of many, especially after finishing in the top eight the past two years.
The appointment of Peter Parr as the club’s new football boss is a shrewd move – he has been in elite rugby league circles for decades and knows what is required to be successful.
He showed his leadership this week when addressing racism and David Klemmer scandals which have rocked the club.
Klemmer was hit with a suspended fine and a one game ban after admitting he should have come from the field before abusing trainer Hayden Knowles last Sunday in the 24-10 defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs.
Parr said the club have put the incident behind them.
‘The resolution now is we’ve had a good mediation session with David,’ Parr told News Corp.
‘He has admitted his fault in what happened. We have accepted his contrition, his thought process at the time. We’ve all agreed that we should move on.’
Tellingly, Knowles wasn’t the individual who complained about Klemmer’s on-field conduct – it was a representative from the club’s human resources department.
Parr has pledged to shake up the influence of the Knights’ HR team and also confirmed a complaint was made after an Indigenous player at the club was highly offended when the team was told to ‘stop playing like a blackfella and get back to structure.’
The outcome remains unresolved, with the matter still under investigation.