NRL 2019: Jack de Belin loses Federal Court bid for rugby league return

Jack de Belin.
Jack de Belin. Photo credit: AAP

The NRL and St George Illawarra have immediately moved to protect the welfare of Jack de Belin after he lost his bid to return to the NRL field.

Justice Melissa Perry on Friday dismissed de Belin's case against the NRL and ARL Commission and their "no fault" stand down rules.

The NSW Origin lock's career now hangs in the balance as he remains sidelined while he answers an aggravated sexual assault charge in Wollongong Local Court.

He has pleaded not guilty and on Friday maintained it was unfair that he was stood down because of an allegation.

His criminal proceedings could take another 18 months to conclude and given he is off contract at the end of next year, he may not be allowed to take the field before his contract comes up for renewal.

"The public discussion and pressure around this circumstance and Jack personally has been extreme," Dragons chief executive Brian Johnston said.   

"It has been both unfortunate and unnecessary that Jack has been the focus for a number of issues across the game.   

"Jack's welfare has always been and will continue to be our number one priority."   

Dragons coach Paul McGregor has previously said it would spell the end of de Belin's playing career if he is not allowed back on the park.   

During a four-day hearing into the matter last month, de Belin's agent Steve Gillis said sitting out two seasons would be disastrous for his earning potential and future.   

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said that immediately after the verdict he made contract with the Dragons to ensure de Belin is being supported.   

"We're dealing with people's livelihoods here," Greenberg said.   

"My first phone call was to the chief executive of the Dragons to ensure the player had the right support systems around him.   

"That will be an ongoing exercise to ensure he has the amount of support and welfare attached to him that was needed.   

"We make no judgement whatsoever of anyone's guilt or innocence. This is a rule that protects the brand and reputation of the game."   

Asked what he would say to de Belin, ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie said: "I say to Jack that we understand his circumstances.   

"We understand this is a difficult time for him.   

"That's one of the reasons why this rule enables Jack to be paid his full salary, to train with his teammates.   

"We are concerned about player welfare. But at all times we've acted in the interests of the game."