The rape trial of sidelined St George Illawarra star Jack de Belin has been brought forward a month and will now begin in February.
The 28-year-old and his co-accused Callan Sinclair have pleaded not guilty to five charges of aggravated sexual assault in company of a 19-year-old woman at a Wollongong unit in December.
Their Wollongong District Court trial had been set down for March 2, before the start of the NRL season that month.
But on Wednesday, the start date of the trial - which is expected to last two weeks - was changed to February 3 with a mention listed for December 17 to confirm the date.
In August, de Belin abandoned his Federal Court appeal over the NRL's contentious stand-down policy, while still maintaining the rule was unlawful.
His barrister said given the timing and the likelihood that the appeal decision would not be finalised until after the 2019 season, there was no utility in the matter proceeding at that stage.
Australian Associated Press