Star St George Illawarra Dragons player Jack de Belin has been charged with aggravated sexual assault amid allegations he raped a female inside a Wollongong unit in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The 27-year-old voluntarily attended Wollongong Police Station just after 3.30 on Thursday afternoon for a pre-arranged interview with detectives.
At the conclusion of the interview, de Belin was formally charged with a single count of aggravated sexual assault in company.
In a statement issued to the media, police confirmed a 27-year-old man had been charged “in relation to an alleged incident involving a 19-year-old woman at a unit in Wollongong, about 1.30am on Sunday, December 9”.
De Belin was released on conditional bail shortly after 7.30pm, leaving the police station in the back of an unmarked police sedan accompanied by two detectives.
His first court appearance will be on February 12.
Meantime, the Dragons released a short statement on Thursday evening.
“The St George Illawarra Dragons have today been advised that forward Jack de Belin has been charged with sexual assault following an alleged incident in Wollongong on Sunday, December 9,” the statement said.
“The club is taking the matter very seriously and have been working with Jack and all relevant authorities, including the police and the NRL Integrity Unit, since this time.
“Jack has been provided with welfare support to enable him the time and opportunity to deal with the matter.
“As this is a police matter to be considered by the court, the club is not in a position to make any further comment at this time.”
Sources say a second player is also under investigation over the incident.
De Belin debuted for the Dragons in 2011 and has played 153 NRL games in his eight season with the club.
He made a long-awaited State of Origin debut for NSW this year.
Off the field, the Mercury understands the Coniston resident is expecting a child with his long-term partner.
De Belin carried a hip injury into the State of Origin series, but was a standout as the Blues ended an almost-perfect decade of dominance by Queensland, winning game one in Melbourne and two in Sydney, before losing the dead rubber in Brisbane.