Hard-nosed ex cop to decide Pearce's future

Mitchell Pearce. Photo / Doug Sherring
Mitchell Pearce. Photo / Doug Sherring

She has taken on Gold Coast bikie gangs, led the Queensland's armed hold up unit and confronted shocking sexual assault cases.

Now working as the head of the NRL Integrity Unit, Karyn Murphy, is responsible for determining the fate of crestfallen Sydney Roosters captain Mitchell Pearce.

Pearce's Australia Day shame is the most significant individual case Murphy has overseen since being appointed by the NRL last June.

Murphy - former captain of the Jillaroos rugby league team and one of country's top female police officers with 25 years experience on the Queensland force - signed up with the NRL as the senior investigator on the code's integrity unit, taking over from Alby Taylor.

Her policing credentials include Australian Female Police Investigator of the Year and winning the Australian Police Medal for distinguished service.

Having threatened Parramatta with the loss of four competition points in 2016 should they fail to complete a governance review, Murphy has already proven she's not afraid to dish out tough penalties and fines.

As one NRL official told The Daily Telegraph: "Expect the integrity unit to have a significantly tougher approach than perhaps they had before."

The process for determining Pearce's fate - and possibly new recruits Dale Copley and Jayden Nikorima if they're found to have breached the club's code of conduct for being with the Roosters captain on the night he featured in a boozy video - will be undertaken firstly by his club.

Should the Roosters own investigation and any subsequent penalties be deemed inadequate, Murphy then has the power to apply further levels of disciplinary action.
It was reported in The Daily Telegraph that Pearce faces a fine of up to AU$50,000, will be sacked as captain of the Roosters, suspended from the club's trip to England for the World Club series and banned for at least six weeks of the season.

The Roosters also intend to insert a new clause into his $750,000 contract, which stipulates it would be torn-up with one more off-field incident.

ARL chairman John Grant described Pearce's behaviour as disappointing, while adding the NRL were waiting for the Roosters to submit their findings before making a final call on the 26-year-old's future.

"We're waiting for all the reports from the Roosters," Grant said on Thursday.

"They'll do their investigation and they'll make a determination. We'll sit with them through that process but at the end of the day, we've got to come to an agreement on what we think is a fair and reasonable way to respond.

"It's difficult not to be disappointed."

One person who will play no role in any forthcoming disciplinary action of Pearce, is his father Wayne.

Wayne Pearce, who sits on the ARL Commission, would be made absent in the unlikely event that the eight-member board were asked to weigh into what is deemed appropriate punishment.

To date, the ARL Commission is yet to become involved in the disciplinary action relating to an off-field issue of a player, with the NRL Intergrity Unit in charge of metering out punishment for poor behaviour.

It's anticipated that Pearce will be called before the Roosters board where he will be able to offer his version of events, before any final determination is reached.

- news.com.au

- NZ Herald

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