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Long wait for justice: NRL star to learn likely path of rape charges

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NRL star Jack de Belin will get a clearer picture of his future when he returns to court on Monday to fight rape allegations.

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De Belin and his co-accused Callan Sinclair will appear in Wollongong District Court having pleaded not guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman inside a Wollongong apartment in December 2018.

The St George Illawarra and NSW back-rower has been forced to watch from the NRL sidelines for the last 18 months after he was stood down under the NRL’s “no fault” rule.

His matter will return to court for legal arguments on Monday and should he receive a favourable outcome, De Belin could soon make a playing comeback.

De Belin’s trial, which was expected to last two weeks, was scheduled to begin on February 3, but has been hit by several delays.

It was initially delayed by legal arguments.

However, those legal arguments were adjourned until April when a critical witness fell ill.

Then both his lawyers and the prosecution agreed to adjourn the matter until this week because of the coronavirus pandemic.

De Belin is on a $595,000-a-year contract at the Dragons but is off-contract at the end of the season.

While the Dragons have won their last two matches – against Canterbury and the Warriors – coach Paul McGregor nonetheless remains under pressure to revive their fortunes.

The club has announced that they are willing to grant veteran forward James Graham an immediate release so he can finish his career in his native England.

It has been reported that the Warriors are preparing to offer de Belin a contract for next season should he be acquitted, while the Wests Tigers are also monitoring his situation.

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