Kirisome Auva'a suspended indefinitely
The NRL said on Thursday that South Sydney centre Kirisome Auva'a has been suspended from the game indefinitely.
Any application to return to the game will not be considered until he has demonstrated behavioural change designed to prevent the recurrence of violent behaviour toward women.
Auva'a will be required to complete a secondary prevention counselling program adapted to his particular needs and covering issues including violence against women, alcohol abuse and anger management.
The NRL will not consider an application from Auva'a to have his suspension lifted for at least nine months. His suitability to return to the game will be determined by an NRL panel which will rigorously review his progress.
The suspension means Auva'a will miss the World Club Series, the Auckland Nines and at least 22 rounds of the 2015 Telstra Premiership.
The penalty follows an incident in January which resulted in Auva'a pleading guilty to charges of recklessly causing injury.
CEO Dave Smith said any type of violence against women was simply wrong.
He said that if Auva'a re-offended he would be banned from the game permanently.
"Let me make it clear… we abhor violence against women and it will not be tolerated in our game," Mr Smith said.
"Everyone needs to understand that if you are violent against women there is no place for you in Rugby League.
"We recognise that we also have a duty to help with rehabilitation where incidents occur and that is why it will be a condition of his return that Kirisome completes appropriate prevention treatment."
Mr Smith said the NRL and South Sydney had followed due process in dealing with the case.
This meant waiting for the case to be concluded in the courts when all the evidence and submissions could be considered. Those submissions included mitigating factors tendered in the legal proceedings which were taken into account when determining the penalty.
Mr Smith said the NRL began discussions with Souths on an appropriate sanction as soon as the matter was settled in the courts.
"The NRL puts millions of dollars into welfare programs, which include domestic violence, because there is no more important issue," he said.
"So when incidents like this occur we have a dual role – to impose strong penalties and provide the necessary assistance to stop it happening again.
"And that is what we have done in this case."