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Knights leaders stand firm on player behaviour

Players who demonstrate poor off-field behaviour are now set to face hefty penalties under the nib Newcastle Knights' hard-line stance.

It's an approach Nathan Brown has backed.

Players could face fines of up to 25 per cent of their salary, suspensions, or have their contracts terminated if they do not adhere to the introduced sanctions.

Coach Brown knows that as times change, so do the expectations of the players.

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"Rugby league has probably changed a lot since I played," Brown said.

"You know things that were acceptable in the 80's and I suppose and the 90's it got a little bit harder and probably at stage now where the off-field behaviour gets to a certain level you lose sponsors and without the money, it is hard to operate."

"From the Club's point of view the club's taken a pretty firm stance and we are a community owned club and I think that not only (CEO) Phil (Gardner) but the Wests (Group) as a whole."

Brown believes the line in the sand has been drawn.

"You just have to treat them all on their merits, you know hopefully with the people we have got in the club, and with the stance that has been taken, hopefully we can win," Brown continued.

"Off-field behaviour for us is a really important thing and the stance has been taken.

"Our instances are far less than they used to be and I'm sure as we keep going, they can get less and less."

Mitchell Pearce acknowledges that professional athletes are under the microscope more now than ever but accepts it is part of the job.

He believes the tough stance on poor behaviour is fair and necessary.

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"Just the way the game is going, there is a lot of pressure on players and high-profile people but it comes with the territory. There are a lot of perks that come with rugby league now so there is a reputation that we have to live up to," Pearce said.

"We know as a playing group that we need to keep developing into a really professional outfit, we still have improvement in that way.

"As a side it's one of our goals for us to keep evolving on and off the field."