Game Over: Jack De Belin Loses Federal Court Challenge
Jack de Belin better get used to watching from the sidelines, with a judge ruling the NRL has every right to stand him down.
The Dragons forward hasn't played since being charged with rape, an allegation he denies, and Friday's decision could end his career for good.
A court dismissed his appeal against the so called ‘no fault stand down rule’ and ordering he pay the NRL’s legal costs.
The Dragon’s forward issued a statement late Friday saying he’s disappointed in the decision.
"I am innocent, and I will continue to vigorously defend the single charge made against me," he said.
"Professional rugby league careers are short lived, I have worked hard to build my career and I have now been stood down at the height of it, without any certainty around the time frame to return. I am told it could be well into next year.”
Australian Rugby League boss Peter Beattie addressed the media at NRL headquarters.
“This is not a time for celebration, we’d have preferred not to have been in the court on this matter," he said.
"What the commission did with the NRL executive is actually act in the best interest of the game. Our job is to protect the game this is why the no fault rule came in.”
The judge ruled in favour of the game because she found bosses "had established a clear and present danger to their legitimate interests".
The "seriousness of the charge", the "unprecedented extent of negative reporting" and "evidence of financial damage" were also taken into consideration.
“From our point of view, we obviously now want to move on we wanna get back onto the field of rugby league where the competition is first class and very, very good and we want to focus on the future,” Beattie said.
The St George star's legal team argued the policy was unfair and was rushed in to protect sponsors who threatened to pull lucrative deals if CEO Todd Greenberg failed to act after the game's summer from hell.
As well as de Belin, Tyrone May and Dylan Walker were also stood down while being before the courts on serious charges. Walker has since been found not guilty of domestic violence charges.
De Belin's still being paid his $545,000 salary but with his contract up next year, and any trial months if not years away, he might not take to the field until before his deal with the Dragons ends.