Hadley attacks over de Belin, McInnes and ‘divided’ Dragons
Veteran rugby league broadcaster Ray Hadley has doubled down on his on his explosive claims that Jack de Belin's presence at St George Illawarra training has divided the club.
And Hadley has also taken aim at Dragons skipper Cameron McInnes, who said on Thursday that the claims were "pretty disgusting", and suggested the playing group was "pretty pissed off".
McInnes also said some critics like to "kick a dog when they are down".
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De Belin has not played since the beginning of last year and continues to be stood down ahead of a June court hearing for a 2018 aggravated sexual assault charge, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
While McInnes didn't mention Hadley by name, Hadley certainly didn't shy away from his previous comments, and went further by saying the information was given to him by someone at the St George Illawarra club.
"Well, it's me Cameron. Me," Hadley told his 2GB audience today.
"And I have been covering the game for a long, long time. I have a lot of contacts in the game, Cameron. I started covering it Cameron before you were born. But anyway, it's me, Cameron.
"Now, (reading McInnes' comments) 'McInnes even bristled that the Jack de Belin saga was a distraction'. Now Jack de Belin is facing serious charges and it is not his fault that he hasn't had them finalised. It is a matter for the courts, when they are finalised.
"He is getting paid, and he trains with the team every week.
"Now I've said, and I will repeat today, there are people within the playing group who support Jack de Belin, and that would include obviously Cameron McInnes. And there are others who do not.
"Now, he said this to (journalist) Brent Read: 'We have Jack who last time he played was one of the best forwards in the game, each week he is helping us to prepare. So if you want to say it is a distraction, it has been going on for two years'.
"Well, that's my very point Cameron. And apparently it has been lost on you.
"It has been going on for two years and the club is divided because of it.
"And I'd remind you Cameron and you don't need reminding because it is rather unpleasant, the Dragons came second last, last year, in 2019. After Monday's loss the Dragons have lost 18 of their past 22 matches.
"Why? Because this saga has been going on for two years. And it would illustrate to me that some people in the club are happy that Jack is being supported by the club and others are not. It is inescapable.
"How do I know? Well, Cameron, because other people within the club have told me.
"So, to try and explain it away by saying, 'it is a distraction it has been going on for two' … yes, it has. Eighteen of 22 games you've lost old mate. Eighteen of 22. Second last, last year.
"And if you think, or anyone else thinks, that replacing the coach Mary McGregor is going to make one iota of difference you are sadly mistaken. You are sadly mistaken.
"As I've said previously, you could get the late Jack Gibson there, you could get Wayne Bennett there, you could get Craig Bellamy there, you could get them all there, but they can't solve the problem that is inherent in the club. They can't solve that problem."
Hadley's outburst was a response to an article in which McInnes said he was not surprised by the "media pile on" after his team slumped to a 0-4 NRL season start that prompted the Dragons board to discuss coach Paul McGregor's future this week
McInnes was livid over reports that claimed de Belin was the cause of their poor form.
"It is pretty insulting. As a playing group we are pretty pissed off about that," McInnes said.
"Jack has gone through a lot the last couple of years and all he has done day in, day out is come to training, do whatever is asked of him, do his best to help us prepare.
"For somebody who has absolutely no knowledge of what actually happens in here ... to come out with something like that and heap more pressure on somebody who has already gone through a lot, to be honest is pretty disgusting.
"It shows the lengths people will go to almost kick a dog when they are down - I am pretty disgusted by it to be honest."
McInnes said he understood the criticism but claimed the cause of their problems was simple - their poor completion rates.
"Everyone has got a theory on why we aren't performing. That's rugby league - you've got to win and if you don't questions are asked, we get that," he said. "When I say I am disgusted by the article I am not shocked by it.
"The more media, the more shows there are, the more analysis there is, the more overthinking there is.
"But I am telling you right now, if we get our completion rate sorted it will be a different ball game out there."
Originally published as Hadley on attack over de Belin, McInnes and 'divided' Dragons