The NRL will assess whether Dylan Brown should face additional suspension after the Parramatta playmaker pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual touching. Brown appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court, where he received an 18-month Community Correction Order. Initially accused of five counts of sexual touching, court documents claimed that Brown touched a woman without her consent on the breasts five times at the Golden Sheaf last month. However, after Brown admitted guilt to two charges, the police withdrew the remaining three. Brown must also comply with an apprehended personal violence order, which prohibits him from harassing, threatening, or stalking the victim.
This development places Brown’s immediate playing future in the hands of the NRL. According to the no-fault stand-down policy, players charged with offenses that can result in a maximum prison term of 11 years or more are automatically stood down until their court proceedings conclude. Although Brown’s charges do not reach this threshold, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo invoked his discretionary power to suspend Brown when the five charges were initially laid. Now that the charge count has reduced to two, the Eels hope that Abdo will reconsider his decision.
The Eels are citing the case of George Burgess as a potential precedent that could work in their favor. Burgess, a former Dragons prop, was allowed to continue playing while facing a sexual touching charge following an alleged incident in March of last year. Parramatta, recognising Brown as their star player this season, has already experienced the impact of his absence, with Brown missing three games due to suspension. Although the team has a bye this weekend, they are hopeful that Brown will be available to play against the Warriors in the upcoming game.
Following Wednesday’s court developments, the NRL Integrity Unit will review the situation and determine whether further sanctions, including fines and additional playing bans, are necessary. Despite Brown’s absence, the Eels have performed exceptionally well, winning six consecutive games. Daejarn Asi and Ryan Matterson have filled in at five-eighth and provided solid support, contributing to the club’s rise to the top eight after a slow start to the season. Fans eagerly await a statement from both the Eels and the NRL, which is expected to be released on Wednesday afternoon.