St George Illawarra have confirmed that former star Jack de Belin will make his long-awaited comeback to NRL this weekend against the Brisbane Broncos.
It has been a long wait on the sidelines for the forward, who was stood down in February 2019 due to the sexual assault allegations against him.
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De Belin made his return to the footy field in the NSW Cup on June 29, and Dragons coach is ready to throw him back into the NRL against a Broncos side who have struggled this season.
De Belin made his long-awaited return to rugby league last weekend. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Dragons centre Zac Lomax is a close friend of de Belin, and was in attendance to see his return.
“To see Bomber back and what it meant to his family and teammates as well – everyone who turned up in support of him last weekend – it was a huge relief,” Lomax said.
“He’s the hardest trainer and in immaculate shape. It was good to see his lungs burning on the weekend. However, Hook (Griffin) wants to plays him, it will benefit the team – when Bomber is back he’s one of the best forwards in the game.
“I can’t wait to see him go (around). I think if anyone handles (the new game) it will be Bomber. It’s the hardest game in the world, especially with the six-again rule … you can do as much fitness as you want, but match fitness you need under your belt.
“It will take him a few games to find his feet, he’ll be the first person to tell you that, but Bomber out of all people has looked after himself every single day, been going to the gym and looking after his body. I can’t wait to see him get back out there.”
De Belin chats with Zac Lomax after his return to the pitch. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
It’s not the only sensational piece of team news to emerge.
The Parramatta Eels have axed winger Blake Ferguson for their clash against the Newcastle Knights.
It represents a major fall from grace for the 31-year-old, who was mentioned as a serious contender for the Blues only a week ago.
The Eels were convincingly defeated by the South Sydney Rabbitohs 38-20, and the Parramatta side have now lost two games on the trot after winning nine of their opening ten matches.
Brad Arthur has named Haze Dunster as Ferguson’s replacement.
Blake Ferguson has been dropped from the Eels for their clash against the Knights. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Elsewhere around the grounds, the Gold Coast Titans have named club legend Preston Campbell’s son, Jayden Campbell, to make his debut.
He comes in for AJ Brimson, who is on Origin duty.
Brisbane Broncos have brought Tyson Gamble back into the fold and dropped troubled star Anthony Milford for their clash against the Dragons.
Gamble will line up next to Albert Kelly in the halves.
Round 13 teams
St George Illawarra Dragons Vs Brisbane Broncos
Thursday 3 June, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney, 7:50pm
Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty, 2. Cody Ramsey, 3. Brayden Williame, 4. Gerard Beale, 5. Mikaele Ravalawa, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Blake Lawrie, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Josh Kerr, 12. Jack Bird, 13. Jackson Ford
Bench: 14. Talatau Amone, 15. Poasa Faamausili, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Jack de Belin
Reserves: 18. Kaide Ellis, 19. Adam Clune, 20. Jayden Sullivan, 21. Jordan Pereira
Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako, 2. Selwyn Cobbo, 3. Herbie Farnworth, 4. Jesse Arthars, 5. David Mead, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Tyson Gamble, 8. Matthew Lodge, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Thomas Flegler, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Tevita Pangai Jnr, 13. John Asiata
Bench: 14. Kobe Hetherington, 15. Keenan Palasia, 16. Ethan Bullemor, 17. TC Robati
Reserves: 18. Jordan Riki, 19. Tesi Niu, 20. Dale Copley, 21. Cory Paix
Wests Tigers Vs Penrith Panthers
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Adam Doueihi, 4. Tommy Talau, 5. James Roberts, 6. Moses Mbye, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. James Tamou, 9. Jacob Liddle, 10. Alex Twal, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Alex Seyfarth
Bench: 14. Stefano Utoikamanu, 15. Shawn Blore, 16. Tom Amone, 17. Thomas Mikaele
Reserves: 18. Michael Chee Kam, 19. Jake Simpkin, 20. Tukimihia Simpkins, 21. Kiah Cooper
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Charlie Staines, 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Paul Momirovski, 5. Robert Jennings, 6. Matt Burton, 7. Tyrone May, 8. Spencer Leniu, 9. Mitch Kenny, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Scott Sorensen, 13. Matt Eisenhuth
Bench: 14. Jaemon Salmon, 15. J’maine Hopgood, 16. Lindsay Smith, 17. Izack Tago
Reserves: 18. Brent Naden, 19. Eddie Blacker, 20. Sunia Turuva, 21. Kurt Falls
Melbourne Storm Vs Gold Coast Titans
Storm: 1. Nicho Hynes, 2. George Jennings, 3. Reimis Smith, 4. Justin Olam, 5. Dean Ieremia, 6. Cooper Johns, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Brandon Smith, 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Tom Eisenhuth, 12. Kenny Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane
Bench: 14. Aaron Booth, 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Chris Lewis, 17. Aaron Pene
Reserves: 18. Jordan Grant, 19. Isaac Lumelume, 20. Trent Loiero, 21. Ryley Jacks
Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Brian Kelly, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Phillip Sami, 6. Ash Taylor, 7. Jamal Fogarty, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Jaimin Jolliffe, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Sam Stone, 13. Sam McIntyrei
Bench: 14. Tyrone Peachey, 15, Erin Clark, 16. Jai Whitbread, 17. Joseph Vuna
Reserves: 18. Tanah Boyd, 19. Esan Marsters, 20. Greg Marzhew, 21. Darius Farmer
Newcastle Knights V Parramatta Eels
Bench: 14. Will Smith, 15. Shaun Lane, 16. Oregon Kaufusi, 17. Bryce Cartwright
Reserves: 18. Joey Lussick, 19. Makahesi Makatoa, 20. Jakob Arthur, 21. Will Penisini
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