Jack De Belin runs the ball for the Dragons against the Panthers.
Jack De Belin runs the ball for the Dragons against the Panthers.

De Belin already causing chaos for Maroons

JACK de Belin has been playing in pain in a bid to earn a State of Origin debut, but he almost ended St George Illawarra teammate Ben Hunt's series hopes after a friendly fire incident at the weekend.

Dragons halfback Hunt suffered a corked thigh when De Belin collected him during their side's 28-2 loss to Penrith on Saturday night.

The Blue-in-waiting didn't even know he may have inadvertently thrown Queensland's Origin plans into further disarray.

"I had no idea I even did it," de Belin said.

"We were talking about it in the showers just then and I came in flying and got him somehow.

"I suppose when you go in pretty recklessly like that, it's happened before. I've got Mitchy Rein before and he was never happy about it, but Benny Hunt was in pretty good spirits."

Hunt has declared himself a certainty to play if selected by Maroons coach Kevin Walters, while De Belin has shrugged off concerns about an ongoing hip injury, despite failing to see out Saturday's game, to put his hand for a Blues debut.

Jack De Belin failed to finish the Dragons’ clash with the Panthers. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Jack De Belin failed to finish the Dragons’ clash with the Panthers. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"It's not too bad," de Belin, 27, said.

"Hopefully it's just a little stinger. I think it was just more scary than anything getting a knock on it again when I thought it was coming good. It doesn't feel as bad as when I initially did it which is good.

"It's in a weird spot and it's similar to when you break your ribs, the wind is taken away from you and you kind of get short of breath. I had that feeling again and when I managed to walk it off a bit it felt better.

"It is definitely feeling better than when I initially did it and I was pretty close to playing (on Saturday) without a needle. I didn't want to risk it and wanted to put in a good performance to stick in the selectors' minds.

"It's definitely getting better and I've been able to train. It's been really good. It's a bit of a niggle and hangs around, but gets better each week.

"I was kind of tossing up whether to get a needle or not, but there was still a little bit of pain there and didn't want to risk it and do it again. At the back end there the needle was starting to wear off a bit and maybe that was why the pain was a little bit more scary than initially thought."

 

Ben Hunt insists he’ll be fit to play for the Maroons. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Ben Hunt insists he’ll be fit to play for the Maroons. Picture: Phil Hillyard

De Belin has been closing in on a Blues jersey after being named 18th man last year. He hoped the Dragons' poor performance against the Panthers - where they surrendered top spot on the competition ladder - would not count against him.

"You'd be silly to pick the team off one game the week going into Origin," de Belin said.

"The work's already been done, we've done everything we can to put our hands up and play Origin and all of us has said we've wanted to play. It's up to Freddy (Brad Fittler) and the selectors, but if we do get chosen it will be a great honour and achievement."



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