Jack De Belin's hopes of playing NRL for the Dragons this year could be over following further delays in pre-trail legal argument in Wollongong District Court.
A critical witness has been unable to give evidence because of illness forcing Judge Andrew Haesler to adjourn legal argument in the sexual assault case against the St George Illawarra star and co-accused Callan Sinclair until April 8.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to all charges after being accused of raping a 19-year-old woman inside a Wollongong apartment in December 2018.
The Judge has now penciled in the trial for November meaning De Belin is almost certain not play NRL this season.
The NRL players union has released a statement claiming the latest delay continues to demonstrate the "inherent unfairness" in the NRL's "No-fault stand-down" policy.
Despite pleading not guilty, the decision means the Dragons forward is looking at a second straight season on the sidelines.
"The policy restrains players from plying their trade for an indeterminate period of time while denying the player their fundamental right to the presumption of innocence.
"The player is also denied the right to be heard by the NRL in relation to its decision and the ongoing impact of the stand down period," the statement said.
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