The NRL will refrain from applying the no-fault stand down policy to Parramatta's Maika Sivo, with the Fijian winger set to be allowed to play in round one.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg will return from England this week after travelling abroad for the World Club Challenge, and sources close to Sivo case expect him to approve the decision to allow him to play.
Maika Sivo was arrested following an incident in Nadi over Christmas.Credit:NRL Photos
However, complicating matters is the timing of the case, which will be held in Fiji on March 12 – the same day the Eels open their NRL campaign against the Bulldogs.
The NRL originally opted against handing down a sanction for Sivo and decided to wait until after the matter was in court on February 17, however that has now been adjourned until next month.
The change will force the NRL into a decision and, while Sivo is expected to be free to play in the season opener at Bankwest Stadium, he may still be sanctioned depending on the court's verdict.
The Eels will also have to make a decision in regards to his mental state and ability to take the field potentially within hours of the verdict.
Sivo was charged after allegedly touching the skirt of a waitress on Boxing Day during a trip home to Fiji, however the NRL allowed the winger to play in the Nines tournament in Perth.
Under the NRL's new no-fault stand down policy, the governing body has the ability to stand the 26-year-old down from playing, however given the charge carries a sentence of less than 11 years, the NRL isn't forced to do so.
Instead they will apply discretion based on their knowledge of the case, with the NRL Integrity Unit satisfied with Sivo lacing the boots until the matter is resolved in court.
It's the second time this month the NRL has refrained from applying the no-fault stand down policy, allowing the Wests Tigers' Josh Reynolds to play despite charges against him.
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