De Belin, RLPA consider challenging NRL

Jack De Belin is considering appealing a Federal Court judgment which blocks his return to the NRL.
Jack De Belin is considering appealing a Federal Court judgment which blocks his return to the NRL.

The Rugby League Players Association board will assemble over the coming days to decide whether to push through with a challenge of the NRL's "no-fault" stand down rules.

The ARL Commission and NRL on Friday struck a landmark blow when Jack de Belin's Federal Court challenge against the hardline policy was dismissed by Justice Melissa Perry.

The St George Illawarra back-rower was seeking an immediate return to the game after he became the first player sidelined under the rule, which allows the NRL to stand down any player charged with a serious crime.

De Belin was stood down after he was charged with the aggravated sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman.

He had pleaded not guilty and on Friday reiterated his innocence.

It's understood that de Belin's legal team will reconvene next week to digest Justice Perry's 144-page judgement and to decide whether to launch an appeal.

The RLPA is also considering taking the NRL to dispute resolution and challenging the stand down rules under the collective bargaining agreement.

The rules were not included when the RLPA and NRL negotiated the CBA in 2017.

It's understood that a majority of the RLPA's members are in favour of challenging the rules, however whether they take the NRL to arbitration will depend on the will of their board.

The RLPA board includes five players in de Belin's Dragons teammate Jeremy Latimore, Cameron Smith, James Maloney, Joel Thompson and Wade Graham, who was appointed this week after Tim Mannah stepped down.

Australian Associated Press