NSW State of Origin forward Jack de Belin will miss St George Illawarra's final pre-season match after being left out of the squad for Saturday night's Charity Shield clash with South Sydney.
St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor told reporters after last Saturday night's 18-10 defeat of Newcastle that de Belin would make his return in the Charity Shield but he has not been named and won't play.
ARLC chairman Peter Beattie and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg were due to meet with their Dragons counterparts Andrew Gordon and Brian Johnston on Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether de Belin should be stood down while until the outcome of aggravated sexual assault charges against him are determined.
De Belin has told St George Illawarra officials he will plead not guilty and the club is standing by the player.
The Dragons are concerned about the 27-year-old's welfare if he is not allowed to play but Thursday's ARLC AGM will consider whether to change the NRL's policy towards players contesting serious charges and stand down de Belin until his court case is finished.
Match Highlights: Dragons v Knights
It is understood St George Illawarra would be offered up to $600,000 salary cap dispensation to enable them to replace de Belin this season, while he will receive full pay while he continues to be employed by the club.
The Dragons advised that de Belin will not travel with the squad to Mudgee or participate in the Charity Shield "in the interest of player welfare".
Meanwhile, Test forwards Tyson Frizell and James Graham will make their first appearance of the season against the Rabbitohs after McGregor named a full-strength St George Illawarra team, minus de Belin, for the traditional fixture at Mudgee’s Glenn Willow Regional Sports Stadium.
"The Charity Shield is always a good contest with the atmosphere and intensity to rival an NRL game," McGregor said. "We'll be running out a side this week that will be as close as possible to what we're looking at for Round 1 (against the Cowboys).
"The most important thing for me is to give the necessary players an appropriate amount of minutes under duress so that they're ready for Round 1, rather than begin that process once the competition begins.
"The plan is to be better than what we were [last weekend]. At times we demonstrated the changes we made in our pre-season, and we now have to lengthen the time to play better for longer. There were times where we needed to be more physical with our defence and speed up our attack.
"Mudgee is a great town where we have had two great experiences over the past year. We are really looking forward to getting back out there and connect with each other and the community.
"They love their rugby league in the Central West and this is a great chance for those living in the region to see first-hand a great match and some of the best players in the game."
In their 35 previous Charity Shield clashes, the Dragons have recorded 16 wins, while the Rabbitohs have won on 14 occasions, including last year. The match has been drawn on five occasions.
Dragons squad: Euan Aitken, Matt Dufty, Jai Field, Tyson Frizell, James Graham Jacob Host, Ben Hunt, Josh Kerr, Tim Lafai, Jeremy Latimore, Blake Lawrie, Luciano Leilua, Zac Lomax, Cameron McInnes, Corey Norman, Jordan Pereira, Mikaele Ravalawa, Reece Robson, Korbin Sims, Tariq Sims, Lachlan Timm, Paul Vaughan, Gareth Widdop.