Stood-down Dragons star Jack de Belin will no longer train with the first-string team, sent to St George Illawarra’s reserve grade side while he awaits his April retrial.
De Belin has been forced to defend himself all over again after a verdict was unable to be reached during his aggravated sexual assault trial in Wollongong last year.
Formally charged ahead of season 2019, de Belin has since been ineligible to play for two years, despite training with the Dragons and collecting full pay, in excess of $600,000-a-season, since he was stood down under the league’s no-fault stand-down policy.
However, as the reign of new coach Anthony Griffin comes into effect it appears de Belin will no longer be a regular feature at Dragons training.
De Belin was nowhere to be seen as the Dragons persevered through the heat in Wollongong on Monday.
Teammates confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald that the former Origin forward had not trained with the NRL squad since Christmas. Several players have reportedly remained in contact with the 29-year-old, but for now will remain with the club’s part-timers.
Griffin told the Herald de Belin was off the pace when he returned to training, but his main focus was preparing for his next court case.
“He’s got an enormous event coming up in his life, that’s his main priority at the moment,” Griffin said.
De Belin’s new home with the reserves should also go away to dispel rumors of off-field distractions clouding the ranks.
De Belin reached an “in-principle agreement” with the Dragons to stay put at the club this year, provided he was cleared before the courts.