NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 29: Mitchell Pearce of the Newcastle Knights looks to pass the ball during the round 15 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium on June 29, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Newcastle veteran Mitchell Pearce has stepped down as captain of the Knights following meetings with coach Adam O’Brien, club board members and teammates.

The Knights released a statement on Wednesday announcing Pearce’s decision, which will take immediate effect.

Pearce had been involved in a sexting scandal with a club employee this off-season and had his wedding cancelled last week.

According to The Daily TelegraphPearce is set to front the media on Thursday to officially announce his decision.

Pearce met with O’Brien, club chief executive Philip Gardner and Knights general manager of football Danny Buderus earlier this week and soon met with teammates and other members of the club to reveal his decision to step down from his role as captain.

The Knights released the following in their statement:

Pearce’s decision followed a lengthy review of current issues, last season’s performance and reflection upon the added pressure the captaincy brings to both his on field performance and personal life. The club is fully supportive of his decision.

The Knights will continue work to develop a new club leadership model, with a decision on new club leaders – including who will ultimately perform the role of captain – yet to be made.

Pearce will address his decision to step down as captain on his return to training tomorrow.

The Newcastle Knights are committed to respecting the privacy of their employees, including any discussion of private matters in the public domain. At the conclusion of tomorrow’s media opportunity, no further comment will be made on this matter.