Warriors players facing serious allegations of misconduct will be automatically banned from playing this NRL season - in a move designed to protect the club from the scandals that have crippled the league this pre-season.

CEO Cameron George announced the radical changes to the Warriors' guidelines around player conduct, with players to be automatically stood down if they face "serious" allegations.

The policy change means that player would be unable to turn out for the club, even if civil proceedings (like a court case) had yet to take their course.

Warriors CEO Cameron George said the matter has been discussed at board level, while coach Stephen Kearney has also reviewed the new guidelines with the playing group.


The subject has become highly topical in the wake of the Jack De Belin case, which has dominated the NRL news agenda in Australia during the off-season.

The St George and New South Wales forward has been charged with aggravated sexual assault after an incident in Wollongong last December.

He has pleaded not guilty, and under current NRL policy would be permitted to play until the outcome of the court case.

Jack de Belin has been accused of aggravated sexual assault. Photo / Getty
Jack de Belin has been accused of aggravated sexual assault. Photo / Getty

De Belin has been stood down from the Dragons' trial match this weekend, and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg is coming under increasing pressure to use his power to ban the 27-year-old from playing until the case is resolved - if De Belin doesn't voluntarily step aside.

With the NRL commission to discuss the broader issue later this week, the Warriors have already drawn a line in the sand.

"The club stance here is that, with the support of the players' leadership group, that any player that is subject to a serious allegation, would be stood down from play," George told the Herald.

"We have talked to [captain] Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and a few of our leadership group. It was proposed to our board last week and it was unanimous.

"I've talked to the players, and so has Stephen Kearney around all that conduct-related aspects of the playing group," added George.


"The players are very clear; they start from a position of trust with us - however, if you cross the line on a matter of a serious nature we will protect our culture in the most immediate sense and ensure that our club's brand and reputation is not tarnished."

George defined a "serious allegation" as something that was under investigation by the courts or the police, and has a jail term attached to it.

"That player would be stood down and receive full and extensive welfare support and counseling for themselves and their family during any stand-down period," added George.

"The stand-down period will be continually reviewed on any evidence or information that is provided to the club in regards to any investigation."

The NRL has been hit by a number of off-field scandals in recent seasons, and incidents involving Dylan Napa, Ben Barba, and De Belin have continued that trend over the past weeks.

These scandals prompted Greenberg to call this NRL pre-season "a complete train wreck".

The Warriors have been free of such headlines in recent years, with the most serious being the sleeping pills/energy drinks episode in May 2016, involving six players.

Cameron George has the support of coach Stephen Kearney and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Photo / Photosport
Cameron George has the support of coach Stephen Kearney and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Photo / Photosport

"We hope we can be leaders in this area," said George.

"We have the full support of our players. If the NRL change their policy, then we will be on the same page. If not, then we will continue on our path."

George emphasised that the club was not contravening any civil processes.

"We are not impeding or jeopardising any process that is outside of this club," he said.

"All we are doing is ensuring that the player has full welfare support and counselling. We don't want the headlines hanging over this club while an investigation is going on and the person being in a fragile mental space trying to play and prepare for a match.

"There is a lot to take into account, but we think this would be the best step forward."

The Warriors face the Tigers in Whangārei on Saturday evening, in their final trial ahead of the season opener against the Bulldogs on March 16.