NRL reportedly makes historic call on star
Dylan Walker will reportedly become the first player to be stood down under NRL boss Todd Greenberg's discretionary powers which allow him to suspend players ahead of a court date.
With Jack de Belin stood down until the sexual assault charge he has denied is finalised in the courts, the NRL has reportedly decided to also stand down Walker, despite the maximum punishment for his assault charge falling below the 11-year threshold that mandates an immediate "no fault stand down" under the new rules announced on Thursday.
Under new rules, players who are charged by police but face less than a maximum 11 years' jail can still be banned by the chief executive Greenberg before their matter is legally completed.
Manly's Walker was charged with assaulting his partner in December, but he has pleaded not guilty to the matter and it will return to court in May.
North Queensland forward Scott Bolton might also face a punishment on Friday after he pleaded guilty to common assault in January for a grabbing a women's upper thigh last year.
2GB Radio identity Ray Hadley on Friday morning reported Greenberg has made a decision to stand Walker down until his day in court on May 10.
The stand down will prohibit Walker from playing for the Sea Eagles until at least round 11.
"I can tell you exclusively on the program that Dylan Walker will be stood down at midday today," Hadley said.
"Greenberg, sometime between now and midday, will announce that Dylan Walker is stood down until his next court appearance and that next court appearance is in May."
A Manly court heard earlier this week that Walker's fiance, Alexander Ivkovic, said in a triple-zero call to emergency services that Walker allegedly pulled her hair.
She has since changed that statement.
"After the fact, I realised he did not pull my hair, that's what I believed at the time, but he reached out to grab my shoulder, not my hair - that got in the way," she said.
"When everyone left I had a chance to breathe and think - I reached out to family and friends and realised I was recalling things differently to what had happened."
The attack allegedly occurred on a concrete driveway outside their home on Sydney's northern beaches, between 4.45pm and 5pm on December 6 after an argument over a PlayStation.
In footage tendered in court, Ivkovic tells the officer a fight started when she made dinner and asked Walker if he wanted a fork or a spoon.
In a triple zero call, Ms Ivkovic said Mr Walker pulled her hair, causing her to fall onto a concrete driveway while she held their four-month-old.
Greenberg said on Thursday he would consider his discretionary powers "wisely" before making his decision on whether Walker should be stood down on full pay.
"Tomorrow, I will be sitting in the same chair providing some clarity on a number of off-field integrity sanctions," he said.
"The policy has just been made this morning so I wouldn't mind a few minutes just to regroup and consider that the first time I apply discretion under the policy I do it wisely and considered."
Wests Tigers recruit Zane Musgrove also faces a charge of indecently assaulting a 22-year-old woman, to which both he and co-accused Penrith reserve grader Liam Coleman have pleaded not guilty.
Musgrove's contract has not yet been registered by the NRL, while Coleman falls outside the Panthers' top 30.
"Where such charges involve an offence of violence against women or children, and there will be a strong presumption that the CEO exercises discretion to impose a provisional stand down," ARL chairman Peter Beattie said as he announced the powers.
Players who are stood down while cases are before the courts will still receive full pay and be allowed to train with their clubs for welfare reasons.
- with AAP