A legal challenge by St George Illawarra forward Jack de Belin to the NRL's planned no-fault stand down policy has been held over until next Thursday.
The ARL Commission announced last week it had approved the automatic standing down of any player facing charges carrying a maximum sentence of 11 years' jail time or more, with players unable to take the field until legal matters are finalised.
They are permitted to remain training with their team and receive full pay. De Belin returned to training with St George Illawarra on Tuesday after initially being granted time away by the club.
As the rule has not yet been formalised, the Federal Court adjourned the hearing until next Thursday.
Alan Sullivan, QC, who was representing the ARL Commission in court, said there was "nothing to stop him playing rugby league from now and the time the rule is enacted".
He said de Belin was not technically suspended as it stands but the new rule was expected to be up and running before the Telstra Premiership gets underway with next Thursday night’s Storm-Broncos clash in Melbourne.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg reiterated the timeline for the ARLC's drafting of the no-fault stand down policy in a brief media address at the game's season launch on Thursday night.
"It's nothing that we hadn't expected and given it's a matter before the courts I can't say much more," Greenberg said of de Belin's court action at Bondi Beach.
"It was always the decision of the commission to change the policy.
"They need to draft the rule and that's exactly the timeframe we're on, that will happen next week."
De Belin is appealing to the court to prevent the NRL and the ARL Commission from enacting the rule.
Justice Stephen Rares said there was currently "no entitlement to stand him down".
The case was adjourned to March 12 by which time the new rule may be in place.
The St George Illawarra lock has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated sexual assault in court in Wollongong following an incident in December.
Dragons captain Gareth Widdop said de Belin's return to training this week was a positive move as he and his teammates prepare to start their season without the NSW Origin forward.
"Obviously it's not ideal for him, my main concern as a friend and as a captain is his welfare," Widdop told NRL.com.
"That's the most important thing from that perspective.
"All I know is that Jack's not available at the moment. This has all been dealt with on our end, it's before the courts and all we can focus on now is the season that's only a week away."
The Dragons kick off their season next Saturday night against the Cowboys in Townsville.