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Door left ajar for Packer's NRL return

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg hasn't closed the door on a possible return to rugby league for jailed Newcastle prop Russell Packer once he completes his prison sentence.
Door left ajar for Packer's NRL return
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Jan 22 AAP - NRL head of football Todd Greenberg hasn't closed the door on a possible return to rugby league for jailed Newcastle prop Russell Packer once he completes his prison sentence.

Earlier this month Packer was jailed for two-years for an assault described by magistrate Magistrate Greg Grogan as "cowardly and deplorable", in which he punched a man lying on the ground and stamped on his head, fracturing his eye socket in Sydney's CBD in November.

The incident was the latest in a string of violent assaults involving alcohol to hit the Harbour City.

Packer, who is appealing the jail term, signed a four-year-deal with Newcastle at the end of last season but the NRL refused to register the former Warriors prop's contract because of the incident.

The 24-year-old has since been sacked by the Knights following the court verdict.

On Wednesday, Knights coach Wayne Bennett said he was disappointed he didn't get the opportunity to turn Packer's bad boy image around.

And on Thursday Greenberg didn't rule out rugby league playing a role in Packer's rehabilitation.

"I think it would have to come back through the NRL and a contract would have to be lodged and then we would deem whether we would register that contract," Greenberg said.

"The last time that happened we didn't so we will judge each case on its merits in the future.

"These are questions probably more for two years time potentially down the track. We will always assess things on merit and when and if that comes up we will assess it at the time."

The former New Zealand prop gained notoriety in 2013 when he was fined $15,000 for urinating on the field during a Warriors match against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium in June.


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