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NSWRL board finds replacement for Politis

The NSW Rugby League is ploughing ahead as it sticks with the results of its controversial election, appointing a new director to replace Nick Politis.

A day after confirming they were taking the ARL Commission to court seeking to have funding reinstated, the NSWRL informed member clubs on Saturday a replacement director had been found.

It comes two months after Politis and chair George Peponis quit the state body’s board, furious that Cronulla CEO Dino Mezzatesta was unable to run to be a metropolitan director.

The replacement will likely be named this week, but unlike Mezzatesta they are not employed by an NRL club and it is believed they don’t sit on a club’s board.

However the board newcomer has been endorsed by an NRL club where it’s understood they are significantly involved and hold life membership.

“The board is very pleased to report that it received a nomination from an NRL club for a highly credentialed candidate to be appointed to fill the casual vacancy,” the NSWRL board said in a statement.

“In the days since the time for nominations closed, the board has completed the processes required of it to confirm the appointment and the appointment has now been made.”

The endorsement comes despite the NRL believing all Sydney clubs are unanimously supporting their stance to suspend funding until the board election is re-run.

After the powerful duo of Politis and Peponis quit the NSWRL board, the ARL Commission launched an investigation into the election through prominent lawyer Bret Walker.

That found the result of the election was unconstitutional, prompting chairman Peter V’landys to demand it be run again and suspend around $1.75 million in monthly funding until it is.

V’landys has been adamant throughout that he is acting on behalf of the clubs, who he said approached him to sort out the situation.

The NSWRL have however held firm, adamant they followed their own constitution and cannot legally re-hold the election.

At the core of their argument is that they received legal advice that Mezzatesta could not run as he is a paid employee of a member club in the Sharks and reports directly to their board.

The disagreement prompted them to set up a NSW Supreme Court directions hearing on Wednesday to have funding resumed, after two deadlines imposed upon the ARLC to have it paid were missed.

The future of the state body, direction of grass roots funding, control of reserve grade and the running of the NSW State of Origin team are all likely to rest on the fate of the hearing.

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