Jack de Belin misses NRL trial with virus

Dragons forward Jack de Belin has been ruled out of a NRL trial with the Newcastle due to a virus.
Dragons forward Jack de Belin has been ruled out of a NRL trial with the Newcastle due to a virus.

Jack de Belin's return to the NRL field has been delayed for at least a week after he was ruled out of St George Illawarra's trial against Newcastle with a virus.

The Dragons named a near full-strength 28-man squad for Saturday's trial against the Knights at Kogarah, with Corey Norman set to play his first game in the Red V alongside Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop.

But the NSW State of Origin forward - who has pled not guilty to a sexual assault charge - was a notable absentee, after he was sent home from training with an infection on Monday.

"Jack is unlikely to train too much this week after being sent home from training by the medical staff on Monday with an upper respiratory tract infection," Dragons coach Paul McGregor said.

Representative forwards James Graham and Tyson Frizell will also miss the Kogarah Oval match over workload concerns.

De Belin will now be eyeing next Saturday's Charity Shield against South Sydney in Mudgee, however the ARL commission will next Thursday meet to debate the game's behavioural policy which could include standing down players charged with serious offences.

Such a change could impact on de Belin.

The 27-year-old is not due to return to Wollongong court until April 17, where he last week pleaded not guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman.

Meanwhile Manly were on Tuesday yet to announce whether Dylan Walker - who has pleaded not guilty to domestic violence charges - would play in their pre-season trial against Cronulla.

Penrith reserve grader Liam Coleman, who has also pled not guilty to indecently assaulting a woman in December, has also been named on the bench for their trial against South Sydney.

The Panthers are without Nathan Cleary for the clash, but have named Dylan Edwards at fullback and Sione Katoa at fullback in a near full strength team.

Meanwhile Alex Johnston will play fullback for South Sydney in the absence of the injured Greg Inglis, with highly-touted rookie Corey Allen getting a spot on the wing.

Kieran Foran will play his first game for Canterbury since last May after overcoming a raft of injuries to face Canberra, while Dylan Napa has also been named for his first game in Bulldogs colours.

Jack Wighton is expected to line up at five-eighth for the Raiders alongside Aidan Sezer in the Bega clash.

Scott Drinkwater has been named at fullback for Melbourne to face the Warriors in their first match without Billy Slater, while Jack Bird will make his long-awaited return for Brisbane in a match against Wynnum.

Elsewhere, Newcastle have named Kalyn Ponga at five-eighth for the match against the Dragons alongside Mitchell Pearce at halfback, with David Klemmer poised to play his first game for the Knights.

Australian Associated Press