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Knights unrepentant in Tilse
The Newcastle Knights will stand by a decision to sack young forward Dane Tilse despite police electing not to lay charges following a drunken rampage by the NRL team's players in the NSW town of Bathurst.
Police were left with little option but to back off when a woman who alleged she was indecently assaulted by a Newcastle player decided not to pursue the matter.
Early last week - less than 48 hours after the incident took place - the club fined 12 players including Tilse, who subsequently had his contract terminated.
"We are obviously pleased that the police will be laying no charges," Newcastle chief executive Ken Conway said on Monday.
"I would like to re-affirm, however, that the decision to terminate the contract of Dane Tilse was made totally irrespective of any police investigation.
"In reaching its decision, the board had regard to the standard only of whether or not the conduct in question was contrary and prejudicial to the club and the NRL.
"In terminating his contract, the club took the position that regardless of the view of the police, the behaviour of Dane was outside the bounds of what our club will tolerate.
"As we have stated previously, we will offer Dane support as he looks to rebuild his future.
"Our club would also like to once again apologise to the students of Charles Sturt University for any duress they have experienced both before and since last Sunday."
The NRL also voiced its support for the Knights' actions.
"The Knights acted on the player's own version of events," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.
"The possibility of police charges was always a separate issue.
"Innocent players' reputations were protected by the frank admissions that were made."
As a result of Tilse's sacking and the naming of the 12 players involved in the Bathurst incident, rugby league's players union is poised to call on the NRL to set up a protocol for clubs involved in off-field scandals.
Rugby League Professionals Association (RLPA) president Tony Butterfield said clubs needed procedures to follow in cases of off-field shenanigans.
The RLPA will ask club delegates on Wednesday to support a push for the NRL to set-up a process as soon as possible.
"We have made it known to the NRL we have a problem with the process," Butterfield said.
"They can certainly do something about this.
"It's not something we would put to the NRL and expect them to knock back because it's all about fairness and equity.
"It's about recognising a player has rights here, particularly when the (allegations) are very damaging to his career, his life after and his relationships."
Butterfield was critical of the Knights' handling of the Tilse case last week, claiming the 20-year-old had been "hung, drawn and quartered" and questioning whether he had been given a fair hearing.
However, the RLPA boss said Newcastle had acted within its powers when it sacked Tilse.
"That's where the difficulties may come in because in the rules they have the ability to sack as they see fit," Butterfield said.
"That will be a difficult one.
"We believe the NRL should take that on board and give due consideration to a protocol."