Jake Clifford has come under fire recently for a number of disappointing performances for the Newcastle Knights.
And, as such, head coach Adam O’Brien has made the decision to leave him out for “personal reasons,” as his Newcastle side go into their clash with North Queensland Cowboys in dire straits.
“We’re banged up,” O’Brien told The Daily Telegraph.
“I might be dragging a few off the street to play.”
Clifford was taken off by O’Brien during the Knights’ dismal 50-2 loss to Melbourne Storm last weekend and the boss believes it is essential he has a break from the game.
“His body is OK, he has some challenges around his preparation mentally for the game,” O’Brien said. “He is down. That’s coaching and knowing when to protect them.
“I’ll put an arm around him. He is an integral part of the team. He has some personal stuff he needs to work on off the field. (Sunday) wasn’t a great day for him. He is the first to admit that… Sometimes it’s like quicksand – it was getting worse and worse.”