Ahead of a meeting of the Australian Rugby League Commission to decide the future of four NRL players, the game has been praised for getting its house in order.
Ahead of a meeting of the Australian Rugby League Commission to decide the future of four NRL players, the game has been praised for getting its house in order.

NRL women’s adviser hails game for clean up

The NRL's leading women's adviser says she "would not oppose" Penrith's Tyrone May returning to the game after serving a full season ban for his involvement in the sex tape scandal.

And ahead of Thursday's crucial Australian Rugby League Commission meeting that will decide the immediate playing future of four NRL players including May, Professor Cath Lumby praised the game's bosses for finally delivering on promises to clean up rugby league's image.

Lumby has been one of the NRL's toughest critics in recent years in relation to off-field incidents involving women.

But she declared the game's bosses have now earned her respect for getting "their house substantially in order".

Tyrone May leaves Parramatta Local Court. Photo: AAP Image/Peter Rae
Tyrone May leaves Parramatta Local Court. Photo: AAP Image/Peter Rae

May was last week found guilty of filming sex acts without consent. While avoiding jail time, the Panthers' utility was sentenced to 300 hours community service.

On Thursday the ARL Commissioners will hear NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg's recommendations if further action should be taken.

The Commissioners will also listen to Greenberg's thoughts on possible sanctions against Parramatta's Maika Sivo, Wests Tigers' Josh Reynolds and Canberra's Curtis Scott, who all have cases before the courts.

NRL policy states Greenberg has discretionary power as part of the no fault stand down policy and can take action to protect the game's image even when the players have entered not guilty pleas.

Maika Sivo is one whose case will be discussed. Photo: Brett Costello
Maika Sivo is one whose case will be discussed. Photo: Brett Costello

Greenberg returned from the Super Bowl on Tuesday morning and rushed straight into meetings to get up to speed with the latest developments.

There is no question whatever Greenberg does on this it is going to cause anger with some, especially given past and often inconsistent penalties that were dished out by the NRL.

It is understood as of last night the NRL was still trying to view the police body-cam footage of Scott's Australia Day arrest.

It is unlikely Greenberg will make any final judgment before Friday at the earliest on any of the cases.

While Lumby would not comment on the incidents involving Reynolds, Sivo and Scott "out of respect to the judicial process", she said when asked if May should be allowed to return to playing: "Unless there are circumstances that I am unaware of I would not oppose that."

Josh Reynolds will also be on the agenda. Photo: Darren Leigh Roberts
Josh Reynolds will also be on the agenda. Photo: Darren Leigh Roberts

Lumby emphasised that she did not want to influence the NRL's decision: "It is not up to me, it is up to the Integrity (Unit) and the NRL working with the ARL Commission to determine appropriate penalties.

"Nothing pisses anyone off more than saying, 'Oh, well, I'm the expert'.

"But you have asked me and what I will say in general terms is that if any young man is stood aside from the game, or from doing what he loves for the equivalent of a full season and has to serve 300 hours of community service, and this is a first offence, I would think that is a good outcome.

"And I would think that it sends a strong message to that young man and to the community that non-consensual filming of sex is a form of assault and that it is totally unacceptable.

"And let's face it, it is widespread, that practise unfortunately.

"But I emphasise it is not my decision and there may be other circumstances that I am unaware of."

Lumby added: "All I can also say to you is that I know that the NRL is now taking these sort of issues very seriously and I trust them to do the right thing.

"I think that the penalty in my view has been appropriate. But I emphasise it is not up to me and wise heads will prevail on this at the NRL level."

The NRL copped heavy fire following last summer's train wreck and even recently the Integrity Unit has had more criticism over lack of consistency relating to incidents involving Nelson Asofa-Solomona and young Brisbane forward David Fifita.

But Lumby said she now trusted the system.

"I have hand on heart when I say I think the NRL is now back on track and do a terrific job in managing off-field incidents," she said.

"They have got their house substantially in order."


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