De Belin’s shock testicular cancer diagnosis
Jack de Belin's three-year fight to clear his name has been overshadowed by the shock revelation he has undergone surgery for testicular cancer.
The cancer scare has emerged as the NRL star's future remains uncertain after the jury in his sexual assault trial were unable to reach a verdict last week.
De Belin has largely kept his private anguish hidden throughout the high-profile trial with only his closest teammates and senior St George-Illawarra staff members aware of his ordeal.
The 29-year-old is believed to have found a lump in his testicle earlier this year.
Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer in young men (aged 18 to 39) excluding non-melanoma skin cancer.
After seeing expert medical advice it was decided that De Belin undergo keyhole surgery to remove the cancer in early September - a critical point in time of which he and his legal team were preparing their defence for the November trial.
The procedure was deemed a success with De Belin expected to make a full recovery.
However, those close to the footballer believe the stress of the cancer scare in addition to his determination to prove his innocence during the drawn-out trial has flattened his normally laid-back character.
The Dragons forward declined to comment about how he was feeling following surgery to remove the cancer when contacted by The Sunday Telegraph.
However, the NRL star's manager Steve Gillis said: "It's a private and personal matter.
"He's a very strong willed man and his focus remains on clearing his name before the courts."
De Belin and his co-accused, junior rugby league player Callan Sinclair, have pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault.
Both men claim the encounter with the then 19-year-old woman in an apartment in North Wollongong on December 8 in 2018 was consensual.
Last Monday, a jury of seven men and five women were unable to deliver a unanimous or majority verdict after deliberating for almost 10 hours after hearing evidence in the trial which lasted for close to a month.
A second trial is set to commence on April 12, 2021, at Sydney District Court and run for approximately three weeks. On top of the cancer scare, The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal De Belin's legal fees to cover all costs related to the three-year saga are close to $750,000.
Those costs could stretch to almost $1 million in the wake of the upcoming April trial.
The NSW State of Origin forward's earning capacity has been slashed after he was suspended in 2018 under the NRL's no-fault stand down policy.
Gillis told The Daily Telegraph last week that the no-fault stand-down rule has "faults" and "it needs to be looked at".
"The rule was never brought in or designed to see a player to wait three years to get justice," Gillis said.
However, ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has rejected any notion of altering the rule, believing the policy protects "the overall image of the game".
Originally published as De Belin's shock testicular cancer diagnosis