NRL star to fight ban in Federal Court
NSW State of Origin lock Jack de Belin has launched Federal Court legal action against the Australian Rugby League Commission, which has stood him down from playing.
The ARL Commission on Wednesday confirmed it had received legal documents related to the matter, with a case management hearing listed for Thursday.
St George Illawarra's De Belin was last week stood down under the NRL's new no-fault policy after he pleaded not guilty to a sexual assault charge from December.
The move would see De Belin banned from playing in the NRL until he faces court again on April 17, after the NRL announced new, tougher sanctions for player misbehaviour.
He has maintained his innocence and released a statement last Thursday to again express his intent to fight the charges.
Greenberg and ARLC chairman Peter Beattie declared they believe the policy will help bring an end to the disastrous NRL off-seasons riddled with criminal charges and anti-social behaviour actions being brought against players.
Under the new rules, players facing charges that carry a maximum jail term of 11 years or more would be stood down under a no-fault policy, which Beattie stressed didn't apply a presumption of guilt.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg also has the discretion to stand down players facing other serious charges, including violence against women and children.
However, the rules immediately met resistance from the players' union, which said it would back any member who wanted to consider their legal options.
De Belin himself will lead the case against the new rules, according to The Australian's senior rugby league reporter, Brent Read.
"I think they'll challenge it. That could drag on as well," Read said.
"This is far from over. That's the disturbing thing. We thought it might end today, but it's certainly not going to be over today or tomorrow."
The NSW State of Origin lock broke his silence via a club media release for the first time since pleading not guilty to aggravated sexual assault.
"Rugby league has always been a big part of my life, I love the game," de Belin said.
"I am innocent and will vigorously defend the charge against me."
- with AAP