Key plank of NRL’s evidence in de Belin case deemed largely irrelevant

The use of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a key justification for the Australian Rugby League Commissions decision to stand down Jack de Belin, has been deemed largely irrelevant in a blow to the defence of the governing bodys new hardline stance on player behaviour.

The parties returned to the Federal Court for the second day of a hearing that will determine the legitimacy of the game's new "no-fault" stand-down policy for players charged with serious criminal offences.

Jack de Belin outside the Federal Court.

Jack de Belin outside the Federal Court.Credit:AAP

The NRL was intending to show a correlation between a large drop in the NPS ratings – a measure used to show the health of the NRLs brand – and the charges against de Belin. The NPS is the construct of Kevin Alavy, the managing director of Futures Sport and Entertainment, with his data supplied in the form of an affidavit from NRL chief operating officer Andrew Abdo as part of the ARLCs defence.

In December of 2018, the NPS dropped by six percentage points. The drop was more significant for female fans, dropping 15 points to a score of minus-12. The ratings were derived from a survey of respondents based on one question: "Are you likely to recommend rugby league to your family and friends?"


De Belins barrister, Martin Einfeld QC, claimed the evidence should be inadmissible as it has "no proper foundation" and was misleading when coupled with television ratings. He claimed that factors outside de Belins police charges, including other on or off-field incidents, could have contributed to the drop in the NPS rating. The debate about the admissability of the evidence, or how much weight it should be given, continued into Tuesday mornings court session.

Justice Melissa Perry said the NPS was "incapable of bearing any probative weight" and that the "speculative nature" of the evidence meant it should be limited to helping determine how much consideration Abdo gave it as a contributor to the NRLs decision to implement its new rule.

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