The former Kiwis international Russell Packer can play a critical role in helping to mentor troubled young NRL players says the Rugby League Players' Association president Clint Newton.
Packer's return to the NRL has been approved by the game's governing body, but the Australian Immigration Department could revoke Packer's visa after he was found guilty of a vicious assault.
Newton said the RLPA has been in regular contact with Packer since he was released in January after serving a 12-month prison sentence.
"I think the way he has carried himself since come back to play...has been tremendous," Newton said.
Newton said the RLPA had been in dialogue with the Immigration Department in regards to the matter but would not elaborate on the content of those discussions.
"I think he could play a crucial role in the future development of players who potentially might be heading down the path that's not best for them."
Newton said Packer had paid for his crime and should be permitted a second chance at playing in the NRL.
"I'll always maintain when people serve their time and pay back society, they should get an opportunity like everyone else to be a member of society in best possible way," Newton said.
"Russell is a clear case in point. He's admitted he's done the wrong thing, but now is taking all the steps you need to re-engage with society."