Australian Rugby League Commission to consider standing down NRL players accused of serious crimes

Ben Barba, Jack de Belin and Jarryd Hayne have had serious allegations made against them.
Ben Barba, Jack de Belin and Jarryd Hayne have had serious allegations made against them.

The Australian Rugby League Commission has announced it will launch a review of its policy on player behaviour, potentially opening the door to Dragons forward Jack de Belin being stood down while he faces rape allegations.

After discussions with the NRL Integrity Unit, St George Illawarra released a statement declaring de Belin would play in their upcoming trial games, starting against Newcastle next Saturday, and when the season officially kicks off on March 16.

However, on Friday, the ARL Commission said their policy framework would be reviewed as a matter of urgency, after a disastrous off-season where Ben Barba was deregistered for alleged domestic violence and Jarryd Hayne faces sexual assault allegations.

De Belin will front court against on April 17 after pleading not guilty to the charges he raped a woman inside his cousin’s apartment on Gipps Street in the early hours of December 9 last year while his friend and co-accused, Callan Sinclair, 21, watched on.

"The Australian Rugby League Commission's (ARLC) policy on player behaviour will be reviewed when the Commission meets on February 28," ARLC Chairman Peter Beattie said.

"At that time, we will consider the position put forward by Melbourne Storm Chairman, Bart Campbell and other leaders of the game.  It will also be on the agenda when Club and State Chairs and CEOs meet on 28 February.

"The ARLC sets policy. The NRL implements it.

"The ARLC is strongly opposed to anyone in Rugby League being involved in violence of any kind , especially domestic violence and any behaviour which brings the game into disrepute.

"The ARLC has instructed the NRL to take the strongest possible action against any player engaged in such behaviour - from serious fines, to suspensions and de-registration."