NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, Jack de Belin, Anthony Griffin interview, Lara Pitt


The Dragons have pledged to stand by Jack de Belin and have dismissed concerns the star lock’s uncertain future will negatively impact the squad, salary cap or team’s on-field performance.

De Belin’s playing future is under a cloud after the jury in his sexual assault trial was unable to reach a verdict this week.

St George Illawarra CEO Ryan Webb says a clause in de Belin’s recent contract extension means the player will only be paid a percentage of his salary if his case continues beyond the 2020 season.

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Round 1

Suaalii backflips for Chooks

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Lewis Hamilton COVID-19 positive, George Russell replacement, Jack Aikten


Lewis Hamilton’s replacement for the weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix has been revealed with Williams driver George Russell getting a shot in the most coveted seat in Formula One.

Believed to be the future of the team, 22-year-old Briton Russell has driven for Williams over the past two seasons but has failed to pick up a point as yet.

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It appeared to be a three-way race for the seat with Russell, Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne and Nico Hulkenberg all speculated.

But Russell won the golden opportunity in the world championship winning car when he jumps into Hamilton’s seat.

The 2018 Formula 2 champion, Russell has long been tagged as a future world champion but has been forced to bide his time in a Williams, as the team has scored just one point in the past two years through Robert Kubica in 2019.

Russell was clearly excited by his opportunity.

“Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to everybody at Williams for giving me this opportunity. I might be wearing a different race suit this weekend, but I’m a Williams driver and I’ll be cheering my team on every step of the way,” Russell said.

“I see this as a great chance to learn from the best outfit on the grid right now and to come back as an improved driver, with even more energy and experience to help push Williams further up the grid. A big thank you also to Mercedes for putting their faith in me.

“Obviously, nobody can replace Lewis, but I’ll give my all for the team in his absence from the moment I step in the car. Most importantly, I wish him a speedy recovery. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and can’t wait to get out on track this week.”

The move will also see Jack Aitken getting his F1 debut in Russell’s car over the weekend.

It’s been a tumultuous time for Williams, with the team sold to US investment firm Dorilton Capital, ending Frank Williams’ 43 year ownership of the sport.

Having won nine constructors titles and seven drivers championships, Williams has been a shadow of itself in recent years.

But the team is excited for its main man to get a run with the constructors champions.

“Our long-term partnership and George’s affiliation with Mercedes is no secret, and so I’m delighted George has this unique opportunity to join Mercedes, the current constructors champions,” Williams’ Acting Team Principal Simon Roberts said.

“We have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes to allow him this fantastic opportunity. George very much remains a Williams driver and we look forward to him returning to us fresh from this experience and wish him a successful race this weekend.”

While he has yet to earn a point, Russell has been impressive in qualifying this season and has finished 11th once and 12th twice in his F1 career.

Hamilton is the third driver to miss a race after contracting COVID-19 after Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.

On Tuesday, Hamilton released a statement on his Instagram, saying he was “gutted” to be missing out on the Sakhir Grand Prix.

“I’m devastated that I won’t be racing this weekend. Since we started this season in June, my team and I have been taking all the precautions we possibly can and following the regulations everywhere we’ve been in order to stay safe,” Hamilton posted.

“Unfortunately, even though I returned three negative results this past week, I woke up yesterday morning with mild symptoms and requested another test which came back positive. I’ve immediately gone into self-isolation for 10 days.

“I’m gutted not to be able to race this weekend, but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others. I’m really lucky that I feel OK with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy.

“Please look after yourselves out there, you can never be too careful. These are worrying times for everyone and we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves and each other. Stay positive.”



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NRL 2021: Jack de Belin, Callan Sinclair, rape trial, new court date, St George Illawarra Dragons


St George Illawarra lock Jack de Belin has a new court date after the jury was unable to reach a verdict in his rape trial.

The NSW Origin forward and Callan Sinclair are accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a Wollongong apartment in December 2018. Both deny the charges.

The jury deliberated for a total of 10 hours before informing the judge on Monday that “the divide (among the jury)… has remained consistent and is unlikely to change”.

A date for a retrial has been set for April 12 in Sydney. Initially it appeared as though de Belin would have to wait until August for a retrial to take place in Wollongong.

Round 1





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Jack de Belin retrial set for April


St George Illawarra NRL star Jack de Belin and Shellharbour Sharks player Callan Sinclair are set to face a retrial in Sydney in April 2021.

The pair will defend five charges each of aggravated sexual assault before a NSW District Court judge and jury in the Downing Centre from April 12 after no available date was found in Wollongong before August.

Jack de Belin will face a retrial in April 2021.Credit:Kate Geraghty

The fresh date comes after a jury announced it was unable to deliver a unanimous or majority verdict against the pair on Monday after nine hours of deliberating following three weeks of evidence in the high-profile trial against the footballers.

If found not guilty, the April fixture could pave the way for Mr de Belin, 29, to re-enter the NRL mid-season and salvage his $600,000 playing career.



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NRL news: Jack de Belin, rape verdict, court case, trial, stand-down policy, Dragons team


The NRL will refuse to alter the controversial no-fault stand-down policy despite St George Illawarra player Jack de Belin facing a third year out of the game due to another delay in his rape trial outcome.

De Belin wants to meet with Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V’landys before Christmas to discuss his NRL stand-down.

De Belin’s manager Steve Gillis told The Daily Telegraph they want V’landys to review the controversial stand-down policy which has been imposed on the Dragons star since the start of last year.

De Belin became the first NRL player to be stood down under the no-fault stand-down policy when he was charged with rape.

Round 1

The stand-down policy was implemented by the former ARLC chairman and V’landys’ predecessor, Peter Beattie.





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Jack de Belin rape trial, verdict, jury discharged, court case, what happens next, NRL news


The jury in the Jack de Belin sexual assault trial has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

“Despite careful consideration of all the evidence given, we have been unable to reach a unanimous verdict,” the jury wrote in a note delivered to the court on Monday.

But Judge Haesler ordered the seven men and five women to go back again and review all the evidence.

“Ultimately, whether you return a verdict of guilty or not guilty, it must be a unanimous verdict of you all,” Judge Haesler said.

“I would ask that you retire and consider the evidence and the opinions of others and see whether you can reach a unanimous verdict.”





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Jack de Belin rape trial jury unable to reach verdict



The jury in the rape trial of Jack de Belin and Callan Sinclair has told the court it has been unable to reach a verdict.

The NRL star and his co-accused pleaded not guilty to raping a 19-year-old woman in a Wollongong apartment in 2018.

The jury returned to the court after retiring on Thursday afternoon.

It did not sit on Friday and only reconvened at 9:30am today.

In a note to Judge Andrew Haesler, the jury said despite careful consideration “we have unable to reach a unanimous verdict”.

Judge Haesler has urged the jury to go back over all the case and “give renewed, but calm and rational attention to the evidence.”

More to come.



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NRL 2020: English Super League grand final, Wigan Warriors vs St Helens, final play, James Graham retirement, Jack Welsby try


Rugby league great James Graham has gotten his fairytale ending with St Helens winning the Super League grand final in a mind-blowing finish right on the final hooter.

St Helens, now back-to-back premiers for the third time in the club’s history, held a 2-nil lead for most of the match before Wigan finally scored the first try of the game in the 65th minute. Zak Hardaker couldn’t convert.

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Wigan half and ex-NRL star Jackson Hastings was penalised for a high tackle in the 74th minute. Former North Queensland Cowboy Lachlan Coote kicked a penalty goal for Saints to level up scores 4-all.

With two minutes to go Hardaker had another chance to take the lead with a penalty goal from 55 metres out but it was just short.





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MotoGP 2020: MotoGP fall stats, Kasma Daniel, Johann Zarco, Marc Marquez, Remy Gardner, Jack Miller


MotoGP has a new crash king after Kasma Daniel unseated Johann Zarco

The Moto2 rider fell 20 times in 2020, just one more than the next closest in Jorge Navarro.

According to MotoGP.com, a ‘fall’ is defined as the bike ‘physically touching the ground and remaining on the ground’.

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Johann Zarco was last year’s crash king. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images



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Bendigo Pioneers’ Jack Ginnivan hoping for a double celebration of birthday and AFL club selection


He tried to make the most of the situation, working to build up his body with weights and running plenty. But when it came to playing footy, all he could do for a while was have a kick with a mate who lives 10 minutes away.

“The strength side was pretty easy with my mate. The actual works on the game was a little bit challenging,” Ginnivan said.

Bendigo’s Jack Ginnivan (with ball in hand) hopes for a double celebration on December 9.

But he is back training with his local club Strathfieldsaye and will be able to do a bit of work with the Bendigo Pioneers ahead of the draft.

“I get to train with some people that I hardly ever get to,” he said of training at Strathfieldsaye.

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“Pioneers starts on Sunday so it’s good just to get those couple of sessions in before Pioneers starts and then we’ll get right into it.”

With AFL list sizes cut and having been denied the opportunity to stake his claim, Ginnivan is mindful that things mightn’t go his way on draft night.

“[I’m] pretty nervous at the moment. A lot of the year I was focusing on football, school was playing a little bit of second fiddle. But whatever happens on the night happens and you’ve just got to move on if it doesn’t work.”

He is mates with Port Adelaide’s Kane Farrell and North Melbourne’s Flynn Perez – both fellow Bendigo products – the latter of whom is advising him simply to keep working hard. He has also been counselled by Bailey Henderson, another ex-Pioneers player who missed out in the draft a few years ago and has since played with Richmond’s VFL side.

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Henderson has urged him to “make sure you have that ‘plan B’ so you can adapt if it doesn’t happen.”

Ginnivan made headlines six years ago when he kicked 119 goals in a season for Newstead in a team coached by his father Craig.

Jack reflects proudly on that feat, which Craig made sure only got so far.

“It’s a pretty cool thing. Dad kicked 128 one year so he didn’t want me to break that so in the last couple of games he always used to chuck me in the backline. It wasn’t great!”

Other than training, preparing to get his driver’s licence and seeing his girlfriend Christijana, who he hasn’t seen much of lately while she’s been focusing on trying to get into a university law course, Ginnivan has taken some shifts as a lifeguard to fill his time over the coming weeks now that his year 12 exams are finished at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.

He’s also heading down to Melbourne this week for a combined Vic Metro and Vic Country training session; the last chance for Victorian talent to show their wares to AFL recruiters before the draft.

Away from football he’s eyeing a career as a policeman.

“Me and my mum used to watch a lot of crime shows when I was younger. I’ve always watched that and thought it was pretty cool. My cricket coach is a cop [too],” Ginnivan said.

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