NRL's proposal to fix game's fallen image

 os.nine.com.au  02/13/2019 21:19:21   WWOS

NRL CEO’s will discuss the possibility of imposing immediate and compulsory fines on misbehaving players, following an off-season plagued by trouble.

According to the Daily Telegraph, club chiefs will canvas the idea of slapping players with fines in an attempt to stop the bleeding from negative headlines associated with player behaviour.

The plan follows the Newcastle model which saw the Knights hit prop Jacob Saifiti with a $50,000 fine after he broke his leg in a pub fight. The fine equated to 25 percent of his entire salary.

Under the proposal, a first offence could carry a penalty of up to 10 per cent of a player’s contract earnings, while a second offence would see a player’s earnings docked by 25 per cent. More serious offences would result in players being sacked.

Todd Greenberg (Nine)

“I’ve been very clear about the damage which the recent incidents have had and will have on the game as a whole. The damage is significant,” Greenberg told The Daily Telegraph.

“That’s why it is so important to ensure we — as a game — change behaviours and attitudes. Clearly player behaviour is a focus for the game right now and as a result will be a key discussion point on Friday.

Sports marketing experts claim the NRL could cop a heavy hit to the hip pocket for years to come as a result of rugby league's scandal-plagued off-season.

 Ben Parsons, founder of the Ministry of Sport, said recent controversies would be leading companies to question their investment in clubs and the game in the months to come.

Hayne, 30, was charged with aggravated sexual assault and inflicting actual bodily harm after he handed himself into Ryde police station last month. (AAP)

"You've got to remember the way planning cycles happen for clients," Parsons told AAP.

"They don't wake up and go 'I want to sponsor a team', it doesn't happen like that.

"It's at best a quarter away, at best, normally a year. All your missed opportunity, you see the problem in six-to-12 months.

"If you look at the Westpac group, their plans are four years out, they've got plans for 2022 already," he said.

Parsons accused the NRL of not pressing home to players their responsibilities as brand ambassadors.

"No-one's actually showing (the players) what good brand is, the NRL are hopeless," Parsons said.

"I put them in my top five worst administrators for brand and reputation management for individual athletes."

He said basketball's NBA exemplified a winning approach.

"And the reason is because they understand ... LeBron (James) doesn't go just because you play well on the field (that behaviour doesn't matter). They've got a very holistic attitude on what the player signs into."

Even though the NRL has pushed for tougher sanctions, Jack De Belin’s aggravated sexual assault case still seems to be causing confusion within the NSWRL.

St. George Illawarra Dragons player Jack de Belin arrives at Wollongong Local Court in Wollongong. (AAP)

The Blues have refused to rule the Dragons star out of this year’s State of Origin series.

The NSWRL said on Wednesday they had not made a decision on the St George Illawarra lock's eligibility and wouldn't consider the issue until closer to the series kick-off.

De Belin on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in a Wollongong apartment in December.

The matter has been adjourned until April 17 however a swift resolution is unlikely with similar cases regularly spanning 12 to 18 months.

The issue will undoubtedly raise its head should coach Brad Fittler select De Belin for the June 5 series opener in Brisbane, though that may be unlikely.

Fittler is known to be wary of having any avoidable distraction compromise his side.

Last year he warned said he would blacklist any player whose contract negotiations threatened to upset team harmony, lamenting the fact nine members of the losing 2017 squad were involved in talks with clubs at the time.

But the NSWRL say it would be premature to not consider the 27-year-old.

NSWRL chief executive Dave Trodden said the state's governing body did not have an opinion on the issue this far out, and it would only be considered by the board if de Belin was picked by Fittler and his selection panel.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. It's hypothetical at the moment," Trodden told AAP.

De Belin has been cleared to continue training and playing with the Dragons, with the NRL saying he is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

« Go back