De Belin remains unavailable for selection because of the NRL’s no-fault stand-down rule, and will fight five aggravated sexual assault charges at a retrial before a judge and jury in the Downing Centre in April. His original hearing failed to reach a majority verdict late last year.
Distancing de Belin from the full-time squad will give him the chance to spend time with family and lawyers. More importantly, it will end suggestions his appearances at training the past two seasons proved a daily distraction for NRL players.
Griffin told the Herald de Belin was off the pace when he returned to training, but his main focus was preparing for his next court case. Because Griffin had not been at the club the past two years, he said he was not qualified to comment if de Belin’s presence had proven a distraction.
“He’s got an enormous event coming up in his life, that’s his main priority at the moment,” Griffin said.
Dufty caught up with de Belin last week and said while he was no longer training with the NRL squad, he was in good spirits.
“He’s the most positive person I know; he’s always asking how training is going, he’s still interested and close with most of the boys here,” Dufty said.
De Belin reached an “in-principle agreement” with the Dragons to stay put at the club this year, provided he was cleared before the courts.
Dufty, who along with Zac Lomax was the club’s best attacking weapon last year, revealed he was yet to hear anything about the club’s plans for him in 2022 and beyond. Griffin said all negotiations were being dealt with by football manager Ben Haran and recruitment boss Ian Millward.
The 25-year-old Dufty knows he needs to cash in on his next deal, and has spent the bulk of his first-grade career proving himself to the Dragons hierarchy.
“I haven’t heard anything from the club – it’s a bit disappointing they haven’t talked to me yet,” Dufty said on Monday.
“I’ve given a lot to the Dragons since I was about 14, I’d just like to think they want me. That’s all I want to feel. Money’s not an issue, it’s just the fact [I want] a bit of respect, that’s all.
“There has been [interest elsewhere], but I won’t say who at the moment. It is still early days. That makes you feel good [there’s interest]. But the one that matters at the moment, it’s disappointing.
“Obviously I’d like to stay in the ‘Gong’. There was a stage there last year where I could have gone, and I had permission to go. Huddersfield was probably the main [option], but I wanted to stay in the NRL.
“I still had a contract and I wanted to prove myself to the Dragons. Hopefully that loyalty gets rewarded.
“I like to think I’m a humble person, but I do need to think about my future as well.”
Dufty was out of favour this time last year and was close to joining Huddersfield, only to back himself and win back his No.1 jersey at the joint venture. He praised former assistant Shane Flanagan for a frank conversation that inspired him to chase the opportunity in front of him.
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.
We hope you enjoyed checking this news update on League news titled “Jack de Belin back to reserve grade and Matt Dufty’s disappointment with St George Illawarra Dragons”. This news article was shared by My Local Pages Australia as part of our news aggregator services.
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