The NRL will explore introducing a grading "matrix" for off-field incidents after conceding Mitchell Pearce's punishment over his 2016 Australia Day drama was excessive compared to recent indiscretions.
In a bid to heighten transparency around sanctions, the NRL tabled a proposal to club CEOs on Friday that would result in precedents for off-field incidents publicly mapped out to guide future sanctions.
The proposal comes as the NRL continues a push for all integrity investigations and punishments to be handled by head office.
NRL.com understands most clubs have warmed to relinquishing the responsibility of investigating off-field matters, wanting League Central to act as an impartial regulator of player punishments.
The NRL's Integrity Unit already applies an internal grading guide in handing down sanctions and punishments, with prior offences and extenuating circumstances considered on a case-by-case basis.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and COO Nick Weeks will continue consultation with clubs and the RLPA about taking that decision-making process public.
"This remains a work-in-progress, but the ARL Commission has asked us to explore options to strengthen our integrity systems so that we can more effectively protect the reputation of the sport," Weeks said.
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"The new no-fault stand down rule is an example of that strengthened environment. But we are exploring other areas of our rules as well.
"For example, we are talking to clubs and the RLPA about the merits of the NRL assuming responsibility for investigation and prosecuting all allegations of misconduct.
"We are also considering the introduction of a schedule of fixed penalties for different offences and the adequacy of the integrity unit's resources to monitor and prosecute matters.
"There is still a lot of work to be done but we have had a good discussion today with the clubs and the RLPA and we anticipate returning to the Commission with recommendations for reform in the second half of the year."
The developments come after Greenberg, Weeks and fellow NRL officials met with each club's senior players over the last month, player behaviour top of their agenda after this year's "off-season from hell".
It's understood that when NRL powerbrokers sat down with Roosters stars including Boyd Cordner and Cooper Cronk two weeks ago, they conceded former teammate Pearce copped an "overcooked" punishment over his infamous viral video scandal.
Pearce's $125,000 fine ($50,000 suspended) remains the largest handed down to an individual, and was coupled with an eight-week suspension.
That punishment was meted out by former ARLC chairman John Grant, who held the CEO role in the interim period between Dave Smith's exit and Greenberg's appointments.
The worldwide traction Pearce's lewd footage attracted at the time, despite the fact no police charges were laid, highlights the complexities the NRL Integrity Unit faces in achieving a measure of fairness and consistency with off-field punishments.
Incidents such as Pearce's, Todd Carney's vulgar "bubbler" incident and Dylan Napa's video scandal undoubtedly bring the game into disrepute, often more so than other incidents where players are found guilty of criminal charges.
The fallout from Pearce's indiscretion was estimated to have cost the Roosters up to $1 million in lost sponsorship, reduced membership and gate takings as the club struggled during his eight-game absence.
The ARL Commission has asked us to explore options to strengthen our integrity systems.Nick Weeks
In proposing a public grading system, NRL officials plan to discuss how different offences are viewed by clubs and the RLPA before determining what band an incident would fall into.
The moves follow on from March's introduction of the "no-fault stand-down policy". Dragons lock Jack de Belin is contesting the validity of the rule in the Australian Federal Court, having argued it represents a restraint of trade before a verdict on serious criminal charges are reached in the legal system.
A judgement on that case will be announced next week.
Should clubs give up investigative duties to the NRL, head office plans to direct further resources to its 12-person Integrity Unit.
Since its inception as a one-man operation in 2013, the Integrity Unit has handed out around 180 sanctions for everything from player misbehaviour to salary cap and concussion protocol breaches.
In that time year-on-year off-field player indiscretions are understood to have dropped markedly until last summer.
But a string of serious incidents headlined by sexual assault charges against De Belin and former Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne, and domestic violence cases involving Manly centre Dylan Walker and former Dally M Medal winner Ben Barba have prompted a game-wide review of player behaviour.