Sidelined St George Illawarra star Jack de Belin will have to wait at least another seven weeks before his appeal against the NRL's contentious stand-down policy is heard in the Federal Court.
The 28-year-old, who pleaded not guilty to raping a 19-year-old woman in December, has not played this season after the league introduced a no-fault stand-down policy for players facing serious criminal charges.
It's de Belin's second attempt to overturn the policy after Federal Court Justice Melissa Perry ruled in May that the NRL was acting lawfully to protect its interests.
Federal Court Judge Jayne Jagot on Wednesday agreed to expedite the former NSW State of Origin lock's appeal after hearing his legal team were "essentially ready to go".
However constraints upon the NRL's lawyers mean the one-and-a-half-day hearing before the full court isn't expected before August 14.
It means even if de Belin is successful, he won't be eligible to play until at least round 22 of the 2019 season.
The court was told the main point of contention was whether the rule went further than reasonably necessary for the protection of the integrity of the NRL.
De Belin sat beside his manager, Steve Gillis, at the back of the court during the brief hearing in Sydney.
He has maintained his innocence since being charged with sexual assault in December.
It's anticipated any trial may not take place until 2020.