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NRL Judiciary shake-up following legal action
National Rugby League Judiciary Chairman Greg Woods along with panel members Darrell Williams and Royce Ayliffe have been ordered to stand down from their positions after launching legal proceedings in the Supreme Court.
The trio are suing Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy and CEO Brian Waldron (pictured) for comments made during the 2008 NRL finals series.
Bellamy and Waldron questioned the judiciary's integrity after Storm captain Cameron Smith was suspended for the remainder of the season for a 'grapple tackle' on Sam Thaiday in week two of the finals..
NRL CEO David Gallop suspended the judiciary members after court proceedings began last week, citing a desire to avoid accusations of a conflict of interest this season.
"The NRL has done all that it can in its power to resolve the matter," Gallop told The Daily Telegraph.
"If the matter can be resolved, the judiciary members will be able to come back on board.
"But at the moment it's in everyone's interests, to avoid any accusations of conflict of interest, that they not sit on any judiciary cases involving the Storm and teams they play."
Any hopes of a pre-season resolution were dashed last week when solicitor Andrew O'Brien lodged a statement of claim on behalf of Woods, Ayliffe and Williams in the Supreme Court.
"Clearly, the judiciary members were the victims of a very serious attack on their integrity, which led to a record fine of $50,000 at the time," Gallop said.
"The Storm's intransigence has been a major contributor to the current impasse. They had the opportunity to apologise and sort out the matter before the Grand Final. They didn't take that opportunity to satisfy the judiciary members.
"Hopefully, once the matter is resolved they will be able to return to their duties."