St George Illawarra forward Jack de Belin will argue he may be rendered unemployable if the NRL's "draconian" no fault stand down rules are allowed to be enforced.
De Belin has taken the league to the Federal Court to challenge the policy after he was indefinitely stood down when he was charged with aggravated sexual assault.
The NSW State of Origin representative has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
During his opening statement to the court on Monday, de Belin's barrister Martin Einfeld QC argued there was no guarantee his client's case would finish before the end of the 2020 NRL season, when he will come off contract.
He planned to argue that not being able to play for two years would have a significant impact on de Belin's value as a player and ability to earn another contract.
Einfeld told Judge Melissa Perry the NRL's stand down rule was "a harsh rule, an unfair rule, a draconian rule".
He also argued there are no comparable rules in world sport, including the NFL or NBA in the US, or in other Australian codes, the AFL and soccer.
The Dragons lock is challenging the rules on the grounds that it represents a restraint of trade.
"For example an NBA player can be suspended for a reasonable period pending an internal investigation into misconduct by a player," Einfeld said.
"Which is discretionary and invites and requires the question whether the allegations are supported by credible information."
The ARL Commission introduced the no fault stand down rules in March after a series of off-field incidents and negative headlines over the off-season, arguing they needed to act to protect the reputation of the game and retain sponsors.
Under the policy, any player charged with a serious crime which carries a jail term of 11 years or more can be automatically stood down.
De Belin was one of three players stood down, along with Manly's Dylan Walker and Penrith's Tyrone May.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo are both expected to give evidence during the three-day hearing.
Greenberg is expected to give evidence on Tuesday.
St George Illawarra great Mark Gasnier is present in court in support of de Belin.
Australian Associated Press