The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) has expressed concerns about the NRL’s “confusing” approach to disciplining players after Andrew Fifita and Semi Radradra’s exclusion from selection for the Kangaroos’ Four Nations squad.
The NRL integrity unit’s investigation into Fifita’s support for one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge is ongoing but the Cronulla prop has been banned from representing Australia.
Radradra is yet to to face court on domestic violence allegations but he, too, has been ruled out of Kangaroos contention.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg announced on Tuesday Fifita and Radradra had been banned from Four Nations selection. It was a stance backed by Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga and discussed with senior Australian players.
However, RLPA boss Ian Prendergast questioned the fairness and transparency of the process that resulted in the bans.
“We are fully supportive of Mal taking a values-based approach to selecting Australian representatives and including players in that decision-making process,” Prendergast told AAP.
“We do however have concerns from a due-process perspective if players have effectively been penalised before the integrity-related processes are completed.
“In this instance, it seems to have been a directive from the governing body rather than a selection decision not to consider players.”
“If this is in fact the case, then it could be seen as discipline against the players and, whilst we believe strongly in players being held accountable for their actions, we also expect any disciplinary process to be fair and transparent.”
Prendergast said the NRL needed to ensure it was consistent in dealing with off-field issues.
“We understand the frustration within the game surrounding player behaviour but we need to work together to put the right framework in place to ensure players make better decisions,” he said.
“We also need to deliver a process that is fair and consistent in dealing with matters of this nature.
“We congratulate those players who have been named but we’re disappointed for them that the focus has been taken off their selection due to confusion around policies and procedures.”