Jack de Belin, star of the Dragons on foot, will no longer train with the first rope team, sent to the reserve team of St George Illawarra pending his retrial in April.
De Belin was forced to defend himself again after a verdict could not be reached in his aggravated sexual assault trial in Wollongong last year.
Formally billed ahead of the 2019 season, de Belin has since been ineligible to play for two years, despite training with the Dragons and receiving full compensation, over $ 600,000 per season, ever since he was removed from office under the league’s no-fault quit policy.
However, as new coach Anthony Griffin’s reign comes into effect, it looks like Belin will no longer be a regular feature of Dragons training.
De Belin was nowhere to be found as the Dragons persisted in the heat in Wollongong on Monday.
The teammates confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald that the former Origin forward has not trained with the NRL squad since Christmas. Several players have reportedly kept in touch with the 29-year-old, but for now will remain with part-time employees at the club.
Griffin said Belin’s Herald was not in the rhythm when he returned to training, but his main focus was to prepare for his next trial.
“He has a huge event coming up in his life, that’s his main priority right now,” Griffin said.
De Belin’s new home with the reserves is also set to disappear to dispel rumors of off-pitch distractions darkening the ranks.
De Belin has reached an “agreement in principle” with the Dragons to stay at the club this year, provided he is cleared in court.