The National Rugby League has informed the Newcastle Knights that it has refused registration of a playing contract for Russell Packer.
For the second time this year the Knight’s prop has made headlines – in June 2013, Packer was caught urinating on field prior to kick off at Suncorp Stadium. The incident viewed as ‘completely unacceptable’ by the NRL resulted in a $15,000 fine.
Then on November 29, Packer appeared before court in Sydney, charged with assaulting a man, fracturing his eye socket. He was remanded on bail, to re-appear before the courts on January 6, 2014.
A press release from the NRL says it makes no judgment in relation to the outcome of police charges laid against the player last week for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
However, when considering whether to register the contract, it did take into account various other behavioural issues concerning the player. After having done so, the application was refused.
‘We will always respect the court process and if the only facts in question are those before the court then, clearly, we will ordinarily wait for them to be resolved’, said NRL Chief Operating Officer Mr Jim Doyle.
‘We have also been clear that we will always act on any information that demonstrates behaviour which is contrary to the interests, welfare and image of the NRL and we will of course take that into account in assessing any application for registration.
‘While we make no inference in relation to the charges that Russell is facing, our Integrity Unit has reported conduct that leaves us with little choice other than to refuse the application for registration.
‘It is unfortunate that the game is investigating a number of behavioural issues at the moment but I can assure fans and players that we will continue to take action where it is warranted.
‘In all cases we need to wait until information is established and that can mean in some cases awaiting the outcome of court proceedings.
‘However, if at any time it becomes clear that there are grounds to reach a decision then we will not hesitate to act. That is what has occurred in this instance.’