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De Belin Fights ‘Draconian’ NRL Suspension In Court

NRL player Jack de Belin watched on this morning as his barrister began arguing his case to toss out a suspension, in the Federal Court.

The 28-year-old is fighting a ban handed to him by the code after police charged the Dragons star with rape – an allegation de Belin denies.

Martin Einfeld QC began; “it’s a harsh rule, it’s an unfair rule, it’s a draconian rule and according to the respondents own evidence it’s unprecedented …in any sporting code in the country.”

The rule was introduced by the league in response to a horror off-season littered with player misconduct alleged or otherwise.

St. George Illawarra Dragons player Jack de Belin. Photo: AAP

De Belin is worried the suspension won’t be over before his contract is up late next year. Which lawyers say essentially makes him unemployable. They say he stands to lose not just his reputation but a whole lot of money.

Einfeld QC said the fact the rule is automatic and retrospective is so unique it could be a world first.

“This is on any view a remarkable and extreme provision,” he said.

He criticised the lack of negotiation with players upon the introduction of the rule and argued de Belin deserves a right of reply – which isn’t allowed under the new rule.

“At least he should have head a hearing at least he should have had the opportunity to put a case,” he added.

He also had a dig at how the NRL handed the whole thing, when they announced de Belin had been stood down, the suspension wasn’t technically effective.

The NRL intends to rely on the views of sponsors and supporters – in regards to player misconduct – to bolster the case for the new rule to remain in place.

De Belin’s camp says that’s not fair because the emails are "the reactions to player misconduct and behaviour over a lengthy period of time" after numerous off-season incidents.

The hearing is expected to last for three days.