NRL boss Todd Greenberg will decide before February 14 whether Maika Sivo and Josh Reynolds will be stood down, with the league eager to make a call ahead of the NRL Nines.
The Wests Tigers in particular have been awaiting a decision on star playmaker Reynolds, which will determine if the club has room in the salary cap to sign a new hooker. In the meantime, Moses Mbye is training in the position.
The duo returned to pre-season training in 2020 not knowing whether they would be free to play in round one, with both players facing serious charges before the courts.
Josh Reynolds was charged in December after the Wests Tigers star allegedly bruised his former partner. CREDIT:AAP
The NRL said it was eager to make a decision on the pair before the build-up to the new season, despite originally hoping to wait until the 11th hour to ensure Greenberg had as much evidence as possible.
As per the league's policy, players charged with an offence that carries a maximum jail sentence of 11 years or more are immediately stood down until the matter is finalised in court. Greenberg can also stand down players on lesser charges.
Reynolds has pleaded not guilty to a domestic violence charge after allegedly assaulting his ex-partner, causing bruising to her right arm and left leg. He will return to court on July 23.
Parramatta winger Sivo was charged in Fiji with indecent assault after he allegedly touched the skirt of a waitress on Boxing Day. His next court date is set for February 17, which he has been excused from attending.
Maika Sivo returned to pre-season training with the Eels despite a looming legal battle in Fiji.CREDIT:BENJAMIN CUEVAS
Both alleged offences carry maximum penalties of less than 11 years, but players facing charges involving women or children are said to be more likely to be stood down by Greenberg.
Last year, the NRL boss made the call to stand down Manly centre Dylan Walker and Panthers player Tyrone May despite both players facing charges that carried sentences of less than 11 years.
May pleaded guilty to recording four sex tapes without the consent of the women in them, while Walker faced domestic violence allegations of which he was subsequently acquitted.
Reynolds and Sivo are set to be told whether they will be available in round one before the NRL Nines, which runs in Perth from February 14-15. The tournament, which includes all 16 clubs, returns after a two-year absence and kicks off the rugby league season.
Rugby league's players union is fighting for greater clarity around the stand-down rule, arguing more guidelines are needed to understand when players will be affected by the policy.