NRL Reviews Judicial Process

The National Rugby League (NRL) today announced the review of its judicial process, appointing two new personnel to replace sacked commissioner Jim Hall.

Hall was confirmed as a casualty of the revamp last week as the NRL effectively split his role in two.

Former grand final and test referee Greg McCallum will take on the new role of match review coordinator, as part of a committee that will determine whether a player is to be charged in relation to an incident.

Sydney barrister Peter Kite has the new position of judiciary counsel with the responsibility of presenting any contested charge to the judiciary panel.

Hall was responsible for charging and prosecuting players during his six-year tenure.

He was axed by NRL management following a controversial 2003 season that saw him fail to punish New Zealand Warriors and Brisbane Broncos players for a brawl at Ericsson Stadium.

Brisbane captain Gorden Tallis also escaped further penalty after he rained blows on Penrith prop Ben Ross in an opening round clash.

NRL chief executive David Gallop conceded judiciary incidents attracted a range of opinion but after six years of the NRL he said "there were clearly some lessons to take on board.

"One is the increasing pressure on the role of judiciary commissioner, given that one person has had the responsibility of coordinating the match committee, laying the charges and then prosecuting the cases.

"Jim Hall has devoted substantial time towards trying to achieve this but we felt the system needed change.

"The evidence in favour of easing the pressure on one person has been building substantially for some time," Gallop said.

"Given that the role has been split, Greg McCallum in many ways has the ideal background for someone to co-ordinate the match review process.

"Peter Kite as a prominent senior counsel with a rugby league background is also an ideal candidate for the specialist role of judiciary counsel."

To ensure the judiciary panel ? which will assess evidence and determine punishment ? includes recently retired players, former stars Darren Britt and Mark Coyne have been added to the pool of judges.

The NRL will also conduct a review of its points table for charges in a bid to achieve even greater consistency in 2004.

Players will still have the option to enter an early guilty plea and not be subject to a hearing.