Walker stood down, Bolton banned by NRL
North Queensland's Scott Bolton has been suspended by the NRL for five rounds of the season after pleading guilty to the common assault of a woman in January (AAP Image/Jeremy Piper)
Manly's Dylan Walker has become the second player to be stood down under the NRL's no-fault rules while North Queensland's Scott Bolton was also suspended and the NRL handed down almost $3 million in fines and salary cap penalties.
A day after Jack de Belin maintained his innocence while being stood down for the duration of his legal battle against a sexual assault charge, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg again came down with the sledgehammer on Friday.
Walker will be unable to play again until domestic violence charges - which he has denied - are finalised in the courts, with his next hearing due in May.
Bolton will also miss the first five rounds of the season after pleading guilty to the common assault of a woman in January, while former Sharks coach Shane Flanagan's deregistration was completed for communicating with the club during his 2014 ban.
The NRL also confirmed forward Zane Musgrove's contract with Wests Tigers wouldn't be registered until a case of indecent assault, to which he has also pleaded not guilty, is finalised.
However Dylan Napa will escape a ban for his presence in leaked lewd videos, fined 10 per cent of his salary or around $50,000.
"I think every fan of the game has been appalled by the procession of off-field indiscretions which has made the off-season a terrible one," Greenberg said.
"When I am asked who is our biggest competitor, my answer is always the same - it is us.
"Our playing group is better educated and, despite the events of the past few months, probably better behaved than at any other time in the game's history.
"(But) full-time and professional athletes need a different attitude and a different mindset compared to those in the past."
The NRL stressed they were not indicating any judgement of guilt or innocence on players, but Walker's ban was again opposed by the players' union.
However the Sea Eagles immediately accepted the decision and indicated they would look at applying for salary cap relief.
"We accept this decision as part of the NRL's drive to significantly uplift player behaviour and the overall image of the game on and off the field,'' CEO Lyall Gorman said.
"Naturally we are disappointed to lose Dylan from our playing squad.
"In discussions with the NRL earlier this morning, the Club has been advised that a future application for salary cap relief as a result of this stand down will be looked upon favourably."
Bolton's ban was originally for 10 games with a fine of five per cent of his salary, however that will be halved after he agreed to provide education to other NRL clubs at the NRL's Magic Round in May.
Cronulla also picked up fines of $1.25 million - $500,000 of which is suspended - for salary cap breaches and the Flanagan ordeal, as well as a cap sanction of $707,000 over two years.
The Tigers were also fined $375,000 and will operate without $319,500 in their salary cap for each of the next two years, but chief executive Justin Pascoe has been permitted to return to his job in June.
© AAP 2019