THE Newcastle Knights will resume training on Monday after their Christmas-New Year break with skipper Mitchell Pearce expected to be conspicuously absent.
Pearce has spent the past fortnight dealing with personal issues after his wedding to Kristin Scott, scheduled for Byron Bay last week, was postponed amid allegations that he was caught sending compromising texts to a female Knights employee.
Knights media and communications manager Frank Barrett told the Newcastle Herald on Sunday: "Mitchell has always been planned for a longer break and won't return tomorrow."
It is understood Pearce was granted extra time off to accommodate for his nuptials and honeymoon and was scheduled to return later this week.
But given that the wedding has been indefinitely deferred, there have been suggestions the former NSW Origin halfback might yet make an appearance at the Knights' first working day of 2021, of his own volition.
If and when Pearce is back on deck, some awkward conversations will need to take place.
Newcastle officials are yet to respond to widespread media reports that the 31-year-old's captaincy tenure is "under review".
There has even been speculation that the club is considering terminating his contract, although that would appear a worst-case scenario outcome.
At the very least, Pearce faces a "please explain" meeting with CEO Phil Gardner and coach Adam O'Brien that is likely to determine if he relinquishes the captaincy.
He also faces the prospect of having to apologise and extend an olive branch to certain teammates, in particular back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon, who is close friends with the partner of the woman Pearce is alleged to have texted.
The Pearce circus is set to overshadow Tyson Frizell's first official training session since joining the Knights from St George Illawarra.