The NSWRL said on Wednesday they had not made a decision on the St George Illawarra lock’s eligibility and wouldn’t consider the issue until closer to the series kick-off.
De Belin on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in a Wollongong apartment in December.
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The matter has been adjourned until April 17 however a swift resolution is unlikely with similar cases regularly spanning 12 to 18 months.
The issue will undoubtedly raise its head should coach Brad Fittler select de Belin for the June 5 series opener in Brisbane, though that may be unlikely.
Fittler is known to be wary of having any avoidable distraction compromise his side.
Last year he warned he would blacklist any player whose contract negotiations threatened to upset team harmony, lamenting the fact nine members of the losing 2017 squad were involved in talks with clubs at the time.
But the NSWRL say it would be premature to not consider the 27-year-old.
NSWRL chief executive Dave Trodden said the state’s governing body did not have an opinion on the issue this far out, and it would only be considered by the board if de Belin was picked by Fittler and his selection panel.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. It’s hypothetical at the moment,” Trodden told AAP.
De Belin has been cleared to continue training and playing with the Dragons, with the NRL saying he is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) also warned against pre-judging the incumbent Blues back-rower amid a growing debate about whether he should be allowed to continue turning out for the Dragons.
RLPA boss Ian Prendergast said it would be unfair to stand down de Belin and supported him playing on while his matter is heard by the courts.
“Players need to be afforded the fundamental right of being innocent unless proven guilty,” he said.
“The rights of the individuals involved need to be protected until the matters are properly tested and determined through any criminal proceedings.
“We encourage everyone to be mindful of these important principles when commenting on any ongoing court proceedings to ensure the parties receive a fair hearing.”
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