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St. George Illawarra enforcer Jack de Belin has revealed his Origin ambitions as well as an interest don the Kumuls jersey for the upcoming World Cup, he told sportsnews.com.
WRITTEN BYSTEVE ORME @SteveOSportal
He has played 121 minutes of NRL football in three appearances for St George Illawarra since being cleared to return to the NRL for the first time since the 2018 season.
But in his first interview since the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) opted not to pursue a third sexual assault trial, Jack de Belin admitted he has aspirations to return to the NSW Blues in 2021.
“I’d love to be playing Origin but that’s a little bit of wishful thinking there so put that over to next year,” De Belin told the Dragons media department when asked to reveal his future goals.
“But for the Dragons, that’s definitely back to the finals and have a deep run and try and win the whole thing.”
The 30-year-old was banned under the NRL’s controversial no-fault, stand-down policy on the eve of the 2019 season after he was hit with six sexual assault charges in relation to an alleged incident in December, 2018.
He was found not guilty of one count, while two juries were unable to reach a verdict against De Belin or co-accused Callan Sinclair on the remaining five charges.
De Belin, who played all three games for the Brad Fittler’s NSW Blues in 2018, is also eligible to play for Papua New Guinea.
A decision on whether the 2021 RLWC, which is scheduled to take place in England from October 23-November 27, will be made next week.
It is highly likely the tournament will be postponed until 2022 due to COVID-19, however De Belin suggested he would be open to representing the Kumuls if and when the event goes ahead.
“Well, my nan was born there so I’ve been eligible to play for them and when Adrian Lam was my 20s coach he was also the Papua New Guinea coach and he was trying to coax me into playing for them,” he said.
“At the time I wasn’t ready, but you never know mate, you never know.”
De Belin played 26 minutes off the bench in his return match in Round 13 against the Broncos.
He logged another 37 minutes off the bench against Canterbury before starting at lock in the Round 15 win over the Raiders, playing 58 minutes.
“The first week it (the speed of the game) through me out a little bit but I feel like every week I’m getting better and to be honest I’m kind of happy because it suits my game and I’m really excited to see where it takes me,” De Belin said.
“It’s great to be back playing football again and I’m grateful for every game that I get to play.
“The game’s different now and it’s taking me a little while to get there but I feel like I’m finally finding my legs,”