Smith facing player revolt http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,21809916-5001023,00.html By Barry Toohey May 29, 2007 12:00 CLINT Newton was looking for some kind of assurance from Knights coach Brian Smith during a talk a fortnight ago that he had some chance of a future at the club. He didn't get one. More the opposite. What he got was a distinct impression he was, as Newton put it yesterday, "no longer required". So Newton, who conceded he was no longer happy playing under Smith, made the toughest decision of his career. He chose to severe his ties with the club and walk out, telling teammates of his decision during an emotional get together at the club's recovery session yesterday. "When I signed here as a young bloke, I wanted to be here for life and that's the hardest thing," said Newton, who played his 100th first grade game for the club in Sunday's embarrassing 71-6 loss to Brisbane. He has been courted by English Super League club Harlequins and there has also been discussions with St Helens and Wigan. Newton won't rule out playing with a rival NRL club. England appears to be his most likely option. Just why the club has allowed him to pack up and leave in the middle of an injury crisis just 24 hours after the biggest loss in history remains a mystery. But Newton's disenchantment is shared by others at the club with the blow-touch now well and truly on Smith. It is clear he has made a decision for a big clean-out of players who he believes should play no further part in the club's future. Prop Adam Woolnough is unwanted and heading to Penrith at the end of the season while Josh Perry is in a similar boat and likely to join Manly. A host of other players are also on the outer. "He (Smith) is ripping the heart out of the place,"one source close to the players said last night. "He is treating players who have been at the club for a long time very ordinarily. "They don't know what they are doing and it is starting to impact on everyone. "He is playing these mind games and a lot of the guys have had enough." Newton's father Jack admitted he feared for the culture of the club if a host of local juniors who have come through the Knights ranks are turfed out. Smith said last night he expected to come under fire but is "paid to make some tough decisions". "When I started here, we spoke about the need for some change in personnel and I wasn't afraid of the fact there were a lot of players coming off contract,"he said. Asked was he "ripping the heart out of the club", Smith said: "Look it's tough, it really is. I wouldn't say the heart. Maybe just an arm." "I think the fans are the heart of this place." A meeting of the Knights' leadership group is expected to be held within the next few days to thrash out any perceived problems between players and Smith.