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Jack de Belin's lawyers set for court appeal

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Jack de Belin’s lawyers have prepared a 30-page outline to appeal the Federal Court’s decision to support the NRL’s controversial no-fault stand-down policy.

The St. George Illawarra forward’s fight for his rugby league career will continue when he returns to court on Monday in an attempt to overturn Justice Melissa Perry’s original ruling. 

His lawyers claim the NRL failed to provide evidence that existing sponsors threatened to pull out because of a player being charged with a criminal offence.

They have also suggested the governing body could have decreased the amount of alcohol advertising in an attempt to address their ‘Summer of Hell’. 

Removing de Belin from the NRL player marketing fund, banning him from representative games and promotional events were other alternatives listed. 

“If the Respondents wanted to take action connected with curbing player behaviour and addressing cultural issues,” part of the outline began. 

“They might, for example, have taken steps such as reducing the prevalence with which they encourage alcohol consumption. 

“Particularly given, as (NRL chief executive) Greenberg accepted, the role of alcohol in many off-field player issues including violence against women.”

De Belin’s camp also argue the NRL failed to prove that the public would believe the game condoned violence against women if it had not banned de Belin. 

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They believe only about 50 of the 528 pages of emails from fans complaining about player misbehaviour even mentioned de Belin by name. 
“And many of them were supportive of Mr de Belin, pointing to his presumption of innocence,” the outline read. 

“The primary judge should have found that the Respondents did not establish an alienation of fans who would stop following the game.

“Or there was a risk of that occurring absent Mr de Belin being stood down, or that public opinion was in favour of standing him down.”

De Belin’s camp also questioned the inconsistencies in penalties between the automatic stand-down policy, and their discretionary decisions. 

The St George Illawarra star is believed to have been refused the right to appeal, compared to Manly star Dylan Walker and Penrith utility Tyrone May. 

The latter two are understood to have been stood down under Greenberg’s discretionary powers earlier this year. 

However Walker was later re-instated after being found not guilty of domestic violence charges in May. 

© AAP