The matter has been reported to Knights management, but no complaints have been made from from inside the club.

Some of the guests on the list of 150 were informed as late as Christmas Eve that the wedding had been cancelled. A number of big-name players, including Kieran Foran, had been invited to the wedding.

Pearce is currently in negotiations for a new contract at the Knights, entering his 15th season next year.

Pearce is currently in negotiations for a new contract at the Knights, entering his 15th season next year.Credit:Max Mason-Hubers

Pearce blamed COVID-19 for the cancellation, telling The Sunday Telegraph the issue was a private matter.

“It’s COVID, mate,” he was reported as saying in the News Corp paper. “We’re sorting things out. It’s a really stressful time for us. It’s our business, no one else’s. We haven’t cancelled, we’ve postponed. I’m filthy about people spreading rumours.”

The Sunday Telegraph, however, reported that Pearce’s fiancee had seen the alleged text messages, as had the woman’s partner.

Knights chief executive Philip Gardner was firm about not engaging with the matter, believing it was a private matter between Pearce and his fiancee.

It is the latest in a number of off-field incidents for Newcastle’s captain.

In 2016, he was fined $125,000 and suspended for eight NRL games while playing for the Roosters over an Australia Day video controversy in which he simulated a sex act with a dog.

Pearce spent a month at a rehabilitation clinic in northern Thailand following the incident.

Pearce, who is off contract after the 2021 season, is currently negotiating a new deal with the Knights. Entering his 15th NRL season next year, the 31-year-old recently opened a barre studio with his fiancee in the area, where he intends to stay.

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He believes he can play for the club for another five years, which would take him through to the age 36. He currently earns $1 million a year but has reportedly been offered half of that amount for a two-year extension with the club.

“I don’t have a time on how long I want to keep playing,” Pearce told the Herald earlier this month. “I’m lucky I haven’t had too many injuries. Physically I feel good, and mentally I still love turning up. I love competing and trying to push the limits each year.

“Even last season, I didn’t miss a training session and didn’t miss a game. I’ve got a lot of good footy ahead of me for a fair few years yet.”

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