NRL 2019: Jack de Belin unlikely to feature in St George Dragons season opener

Jack De Belin.
Jack De Belin. Photo credit: AAP

Jack de Belin's Federal Court fight to overturn an NRL ban is unlikely to spill into round one, with St George Illawarra not expected to play the star lock against North Queensland anyway.

The NRL are on Monday afternoon set to approve the rules surrounding their no- fault stand down policy, which will see de Belin formally banned.

His fight to overturn that will then return to court on Thursday, where it's expected he will seek an injunction to continue playing until a final ruling is made on its legality.

That hearing will coincide with the Dragons' flight to North Queensland and AAP understands the NSW State of Origin forward won't play in Townsville regardless of whether he is given clearance.

De Belin hasn't played any football since last season, after missing the Dragons' first trial with a chest infection and not being picked for the Chairty Shield on welfare grounds.

The backrower - who has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges laid in December - continues to train with the Dragons and will be able to for the duration of any stand down.

But if de Belin doesn't play it will at least remove any will-he-or-won't-he debates in Wollongong, where teammates say the 27-year-old has not been a negative at training.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't distracting but the way we've been playing we've had other people filling in for Jack's position," fellow forward Tariq Sims said.

"We've got a saying, you drop everything at the door and pick it up when you leave.

"When we're in here to train our main focus is to get better, to strive for something better, find that extra per cent we were missing last year.

"Jack has had to adopt that because to go out there and be dragging the chain would be pretty poisonous for the club."

Tyson Frizell is expected to play lock in place of de Belin, with Jacob Host and Luciano Leilua fighting it out for the starting spot on the right edge.

"We've obviously got players there who play that role. Who have been training in different positions and swapping in and out," captain Gareth Widdop said

"Obviously there is no hiding from (the situation), it's there every day.

"As individuals and as players we've got a job to do and that's to turn up to training and do what the coaches ask of us.

"Everything else outside of that is completely out of our control. That's all we can do as a group."


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