NRL CEO Todd Greenberg is expected to take the stand in Federal Court on Tuesday.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg is expected to take the stand in Federal Court on Tuesday.

NRL boss to take stand in de Belin’s ‘stand-down’ trial

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg is expected to take the stand in the Federal Court on Tuesday morning as Jack de Belin challenges the game's no-fault stand-down rule.

De Belin is suing the NRL and the ARL Commission after his indefinite suspenion under the game's crackdown on misbehaviour.

The St George Illawarra star forward has been charged with the aggravated sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman.

He has pleaded not guilty and his criminal case is scheduled to be mentioned in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday.

Under the rules, which were rubber-stamped by the ARL Commission in March, any player charged with a serious crime that carries a jail sentence of 11 years or more can be stood down automatically.

The NRL's barrister, Alan Sullivan QC, told Justice Melissa Perry on Monday that the game's "net promoter score" had plummeted following an off-season marred by controversy and off-field incidents.

The court heard that since the NRL began using the index, which measured how likely someone was to recommend rugby league to a friend or family member, in 2017, they had observed a correlation between it and crowds and television ratings.

Both Greenberg and NRL chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo are expected to give evidence.

The court heard on Monday that De Belin and his management feared that if he was not allowed to resume playing immediately, it would have an adverse effect on his career.

His barrister, Martin Einfeld QC, said there was no guarantee de Belin's criminal case would be finalised before the end of next season, when he would come off contract, and two years out of the game would be disastrous for his livelihood.

The case before Justice Perry is scheduled to continue on Tuesday and Wednesday.