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NRL failed Dragons' Jack de Belin: lawyers

The NRL has failed Jack de Belin because it did not provide him with an education program about violence against women, the Federal Court has been told.

NRL failed Dragons' Jack de Belin: lawyers

The NRL has failed Jack de Belin because it did not provide him with an education program about violence against women, the Federal Court has been told.

JACK DE BELIN of the Dragons runs the ball during the NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
JACK DE BELIN of the Dragons runs the ball during the NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Jack de Belin's lawyers have claimed the NRL failed to put the St George Illawarra star through an education program about violence against women and that controversy was sometimes good for sports.

Martin Einfeld QC made the statements as de Belin's fight against the NRL and ARL Commission to be reinstated drew to a close in the Federal Court on Thursday.


Justice Melissa Perry said she was unlikely to hand down her judgment next week.

De Belin is suing the game's governing bodies after he was sidelined as part of their "no fault" stand-down policy after he was charged with aggravated sexual assault.

He has pleaded not guilty.

During his closing statements, Einfeld said the game had failed de Belin by not providing him with an education program about violence against women.

He said that the no-fault stand-down rules were a "last resort" because their education programs had failed.

"There was a program about theatres sports, drug taking, how to speak well, about gambling," Einfeld said.

He then claimed there was "not a single program" which de Belin was made to attend which addressed violence against women.

Einfeld's claims were subsequently refuted by the defence's barrister Alan Sullivan QC who said the theatre sports program presented the player with a series of scenarios and directly addressed violence against women.

The NRL has claimed it instituted the hardline policy in an attempt to curb a spate of off-field dramas and to prevent an exodus of sponsors and supporters.

Einfeld said fans would not necessarily be turned off by controversy and that "some people will watch irrespective of whether they're role models - whatever that may be".

He said there was "no evidence" that the "bad behaviour" of tennis stars was a detriment to the sport.

"Some people might like to watch it," Einfeld said.

"I dare say John McEnroe was famous for causing disruption."

Melbourne Storm chairman Bart Campbell claimed the NRL's summer from hell cost his club $500,000 a year in lost sponsorship.

Campbell said after major Storm partner Crown Resorts last year announced they were retreating from the sponsorship market and ending their seven-figure deal, his club had struggled to find a replacement.

He said that early in the new year he was told by corporations that they didn't want to be associated with the 13-man code.

The club in March signed a one-year deal with real estate company Purple Bricks.

Campbell told the court he had negotiations with Purple Bricks, La Trobe Financial, as well as minor sponsors Fuso Trucks and Tiger Air about becoming major sponsors.

He said the club was forced to take $500,000 below market value for their front of jersey sponsorship.

"We had four companies tell us the risk of being associated with the NRL was too great," Campbell said.

AAP


AAP




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