De Belin still fit enough for NRL: Hunt

Scott Bailey
Jack de Belin's sexual assault case will return to court on Monday for legal argument

St George Illawarra players say stood-down star Jack de Belin remains in top playing condition despite having not run out in a NRL game for more than 21 months.

De Belin's case will head back to court on Monday for legal argument, with the 29-year-old having pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault.

The former NSW State of Origin lock has not played in the NRL since the end of 2018, before he was stood down under the NRL's no-fault policy.

The representative star has continued training with the Dragons, and is a part of their 50-man bubble during the coronavirus biosecurity measures, training in opposed sessions.

"He's definitely ready to play, that's for sure," Ben Hunt said.

"He's been training really well here and has been close to one of our best training in the reserve side.

"I feel like he won't miss a beat for us if he comes in. Not just with the ball but defensively.

"He is a great player defensively, he can really change a game. He would be a huge boost for us."

De Belin's next court appearance was originally scheduled for early April, however it was adjourned for more than two months due to the coronavirus crisis.

The lock is off contract at the end of this year, having played 154 games for the Dragons since his debut in 2011.

Captain Cameron McInnes last week lashed out at suggestions his involvement in training had caused a split in the playing group.

Veteran Tyson Frizell said his situation was not a regular talking point at the Dragons.

"We haven't even spoken once about Jack's court case ... or anything like that," Frizell said.

"We're preparing for a game this weekend (against the Gold Coast)."