Thu 27 Aug 2020, 07:26 PM
The Dragons’ release of promising winger Jason Saab to a rival club will require a player swap or transfer fee being paid as Jack de Belin prepares for his latest appearance in court.De Belin will appear in Wollongong Local Court on Friday where a ruling on legal argument in his criminal case is expected.
Friday’s proceedings will determine if and when a trial date is scheduled, with de Belin’s playing future dictated accordingly.
The Dragons face serious competition from the Warriors for his services should he be able to play in 2021.
Meanwhile, Saab’s early exit from the last two years of his Dragons deal is contingent on the club not being left empty-handed by his departure. Saab has been pushing for a release on compassionate grounds for much of 2020. The 19-year-old has struggled with a three-hour daily commute to Wollongong for training and family circumstances that prevent him moving closer to the club’s headquarters.Dragons officials have met with Saab’s management multiple times throughout the year but have been unable to resolve the impasse.
Saab has fielded interest from several Sydney rivals including Wests Tigers and Manly over the course of 2020, but the Dragons preference is for a player swap to hasten his release.
“It’s worth noting that contrary to media reports Jason Saab has not been granted a release at the end of the season,” CEO Ryan Webb wrote in an update to Dragons members on Thursday.
“Although we will consider allowing him to depart on compassionate grounds if we were to receive a commensurate compensation in the form of a player and/or cash consideration.”
NRL.com understands that the Dragons are not necessarily chasing a like-for-like replacement for Saab, with reinforcements on the edges and in their middle forwards stocks also a roster priority.
Saab has stressed that welfare concerns are driving his push for a release despite struggling for game time, with the 199-centimetre winger behind Mikaele Ravalawa and Jordan Pereira in the club’s pecking order.
Utility Tristan Sailor faces a similar predicament and has been unable to get a run under interim coach Dean Young after playing the final three games of McGregor’s tenure. The 22-year-old son of former dual-international Wendell Sailor is yet to begin contract talks with the Dragons and may well have to move on to see regular first grade at the end of 2020.