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‘It’s not an excuse!’ Jason Nightingale on Dragons’ de Belin saga

Former St George Illawarra star Jason Nightingale admits the club aren’t using the Jack de Belin saga as an excuse for their poor 2019 NRL season.

De Belin hasn’t played any part of the Dragons’ 2019 season, stood down under the NRL’s No Fault stand-down policy due to his pending sexual assault charges.

With a superstar spine featuring the likes of Corey Norman, Gareth Widdop, Ben Hunt and Cameron McInnes, expectations were placed on the Dragons to be a premiership contender.

However, along with the de Belin missing, injuries have derailed the club’s season, but Nightingale told Macquarie Sports Radio Halftime they have remained united as a club.

“It’s been a rollercoaster but I don’t think it’s an excuse for our club,” Nightingale said.

“Other than the baseline fact that Jack is a great player at our club, we’ve been staunch supporters of his and he is still a big part of our club, but the fact of the matter is one of the best players can’t take the field.

“You can’t replace Jack de Belin as a player, he is a big part of our club and a forward pack.

“Our club has stuck by him and that has galvanised the playing group, it’s obviously disrupted things from a salary cap perspective and that’s the business that we are in.

“But to use it outside of that as a distraction is a bit more of a cop out and I don’t think one that we’re accepting as a club or the playing group are not using Jack unavailable, other than the fact he is a great player, as a reason for some of the poor performances this season.”

The 14th placed Dragons host the Eels at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday afternoon.


Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.