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'No-fault stand down policy' doesn't mean it's open season on players

As we move into a new era of expectation around player behaviour, there is also a flip side.

People out there have got to be told this new NRL policy doesn't mean it's open season on players.

Let me state again I totally agree with the NRL's new "no-fault stand down" policy about the way we conduct ourselves. Bad behaviour is detrimental and in complete contrast to what we're trying to achieve with our game.

So now the decision has been made we also need to be diligent in letting the general public know it's not right to make any menacing or deliberate accusation against players, which leads to police charges.

We need the clubs and the players, working in partnership with the RLPA, to help us work out the best way to push the message out about what might happen if there is an acquittal.

We've got an obligation to the player to help him through that next stage, after any accusations are found to be false, of how he goes about retaining his reputation, or getting back to playing.

And that might mean through legal or civil action.

There needs to be some retribution especially if players are the victims of some made-up scenario that has caused damage to the game, its brand, as well as to the player's standing.

People need to be mindful of any consequences, or repercussions, to making allegations if they are found to be false in a court of law.

So there must be a deterrent measure with strong messaging prevalent when the NRL drafts this new rule.

As we all know with these sorts of charges going through the legal process, many are downgraded or even thrown out.

The second point I'd like to make about the "no-fault stand down" rule is that helps the victim as well.

The saying "all of game" means our sport has a duty of care, in my opinion, to any alleged victims so that he or she is not having reminders every day of seeing players go about their business as if everything was normal.

Under the "no-fault stand down" rule there are harsh punishments for players who make poor choices, but we also need to balance that with some compassion for the victims as well.

Overall, this week just proves to me again how resilient our game is. It’s been that way over a long period of time but I think it shone brightly the past couple of days through the gloom of the recent negative publicity.

Personally, this new rule shows our game really represents something. We are not afraid to be strong leaders in this area.

We won't tolerate behaviour that damages our great game.

And in the very same breath we are not saying that Jack de Belin or Dylan Walker are guilty.

What we are saying is that the future of our game and brand is far bigger than any player.

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