NRL outlines new player behavioural guidelines

The National Rugby League has today outlined new guidelines for the investigation of player behavioural issues.

Clubs will remain responsible for the initial investigation of any off-field issue and must submit a report to the NRL detailing their progress, findings and recommended actions.

The NRL has enlisted the services of an external investigator to review the report and conduct any further inquiries that may be deemed necessary.

The investigator may conduct a separate report that would be reviewed along with the club report by an NRL panel. The panel will include the NRL’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Graham Annesley and former players Michael Buettner and Mark O’Neill.

The panel will then make any recommendations as to the appropriateness of the club’s actions to the NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop.

“The Clubs have to be the starting point in the process and our recent work with the NFL has only confirmed the importance of this principle,” Mr Gallop said.

“Anyone who lets down the game has to know that they are also letting their own team-mates and has to know that it is their own club that will be the first to act.

“It’s equally important that the clubs are aware that we are going to do all we can to drive consistency to the extent that it is achievable.

“Every incident has to be treated on the basis of its own unique circumstances and we should never step away from that fact.

“But the principle of clubs and the game enforcing behavioural codes and standing up for the vast majority of players who don’t want their reputations tarnished by a few individuals has to be maintained.

“The NRL and the RLPA have worked together to take significant steps in the area of player education and welfare.

“We have entered into strategic partnerships with the Australian Drug Foundation, worked with our alcohol sponsors in delivering responsible service messages and our Toyota Cup induction camps for 2010 are already well advanced.

“We are sending the right messages and we will be supporting those messages through the code of conduct.”