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St George Illawarra forward Jack de Belin could be stood down before the start of the season after NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg admitted the game would this month review its policy of allowing the legal process to play out before acting.

However, Dragons chief executive Brian Johnston believes the club would be doing de Belin a disservice by not standing by him as his legal matter goes through the courts (presently adjourned until April 17).

The potential to overhaul the code's decade-long stance, which has allowed a player facing charges to go through the legal system before sanctions are handed down, could see de Belin stood down while the matter goes through court proceedings.

"Under our current policy we've made it very clear that these are matters for the courts and the NRL is very strong on applying natural justice to its players," Greenberg said on Friday night.

"In saying that though, that's our current policy. We've made it clear we need to consider that very carefully. Each case needs to be judged on its merits.

Dragons lock Jack de Belin.
Dragons lock Jack de Belin. ©Paul Barkley/NRL Photos

"On this occasion with the information in the public atmosphere, it is very difficult and I understand why people are debating that.

"But the principles of our policy stand very clear at the moment that when a player is before the courts we will stand back and allow that process to take place."

Johnston was keen to reiterate the club's support of de Belin, highlighting the concerns with any potential sanction from the governing body before it went through the legal system.

"I acknowledge the interest and opinions surrounding the Jack de Belin legal proceedings," Johnston said.

"This is a very difficult, complex and polarising issue, particularly for those involved, and as a club we have an obligation for player welfare.

"Aside from various contractual and welfare obligations, advice suggests that any action taken by the club may have significant ramifications and may interfere with the fairness of the judicial process.

We understand this is a very emotive issue and a very difficult issue

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg

"As a club, we support the desire and need to improve the standards of player behaviour across the game and our history would suggest that we are not afraid to take action where allegations have been proven."

Greenberg canvased the views of all clubs at Friday’s chief executive conference in Melbourne in regards to the game's stance on sanctions, however, it is believed the views were split.

It comes after Melbourne Storm chair Bart Campbell sent an email to club bosses on Thursday calling for de Belin to be stood down, saying: "standing around while Rome burns is not good enough".

The views and recommendations that were put forward on Friday will be taken to the ARL Commission and will be discussed further at the February 28 chairman and chief executive conference in Sydney before a decision is reached on whether to change the game’s policy.

"What I would describe it as is asking all the clubs to give us our views," Greenberg said.

"This is a really important part of how the game is managed and led. We want to make sure the clubs as key stakeholders and members of the game get the opportunity to voice their views.

"The game is governed by an independent commission, but I need to be able to take back the views of our clubs before we form policy decisions."

Greenberg conceded it was difficult to take the emotion out of the de Belin case but reiterated the game’s desire to provide him the presumption of innocence.

"We understand this is a very emotive issue and a very difficult issue," Greenberg said.

"Jack de Belin faces very serious criminal charges. But he is entitled to, as all of us are, to the presumption of innocence. That's the current policy of the game. That’s how we're managing the situation at the moment.

"I haven’t but I’m obviously keeping a close dialogue with the club and that’s proper because he’s an employee of that club."

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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