De Belin offered English security amid Saints stalemate

Scott Bailey |

The Dragons’ Jack de Belin is weighing up his future after receiving offers from England.
The Dragons’ Jack de Belin is weighing up his future after receiving offers from England.

Jack de Belin is weighing up whether to leave the NRL for the security of longer deals already tabled in England, as a contract stand-off with St George Illawarra drags on.

Off contract at the end of 2024, de Belin has been told by the Dragons they only want to offer him one-year deals at his age.

The 33-year-old has attracted interest from rival NRL clubs, but at this stage they too are for one-year deals.

De Belin’s preference is to stay in Wollongong and finish as a one-club player, with the former NSW State of Origin representative by far the Dragons’ longest-serving player.

He indicated he would almost re-sign immediately if the current offer is extended to two years.

“That’s kind of what the stand-off (with the Dragons) has been,” de Belin told AAP. 

“I would prefer to get the two years so I don’t have to go through this whole process again next year. 

“I have been at the club for a long time. I feel like they know what kind of player and person I am. 

“I was hoping to get that, but at the same time it is a business and they have to do what they have to do as well.

“I would like to get something finalised pretty quickly.”

AAP has been told de Belin has been offered multi-year deals by numerous English clubs.

But playing on de Belin’s mind is the belief he has more to offer in Australia, and knows any English move would end his NRL career.

De Belin’s current Dragons contract is the one he signed in 2020, during a two-and-a-half-year stand-down from the game while fighting sexual assault charges.

He routinely points to that period as to why he believes his body does not feel as old as his age suggests, with more years left in it.

“It’s nice to know there are options over there (in England),” de Belin said. 

“I could go overseas essentially.

“Maybe if I didn’t think I was up to the speed of the NRL any more, or if I didn’t have it in me I could definitely go over there. 

“But while I’m still playing at a higher level, a big part of me wants to stay here in the NRL. I don’t think I’m in a position to go yet.”

De Belin’s future could also hinge on other factors with Parramatta yet to decide on a coach for 2025 and Stefano Utoikamanu’s future at Wests Tigers up in the air.

There is also interest in de Belin from Wayne Bennett, but South Sydney’s salary-cap situation is clouded given Lachlan Ilias is yet to find a new home.

Souths have released Damien Cook to the Dragons for next year with Euan Aitken to follow Bennett from Redcliffe to Redfern.

“Wayne was my debut coach and I’m forever grateful for him seeing something in me,” de Belin said. 

“I will always have a special spot for Wayne.”