It also would have come just two months after de Belin returned to the sport following a three-year lay-off fighting rape charges in court. Charges were dropped in May after two mistrials, allowing de Belin to return to the Dragons mid-season.
The door opened for de Belin to potentially captain the club last week when stand-in skipper Andrew McCullough suffered an injury deputising for Ben Hunt. The injuries have left a void in the club’s leadership, but Griffin has gone with Sims, a NSW State of Origin representative, to lead the club in the absence of the experienced duo.
Griffin is no stranger to controversy, having led the pursuit of Israel Folau at the start of the year. Griffin met Folau in the off-season and convinced the Dragons to throw the dual international a lifeline after returning home from a Super League stint with Catalans.
Following backlash from fans and sponsors after the Herald revealed the Dragons’ pursuit of Folau in February, the club dropped its interest a couple of days later.
Griffin’s selections have also come under fire of late, with the decision not to renew the contract of fullback Matt Dufty dividing supporters.
His continued selection of the under-siege Corey Norman, who will depart the club at the end of the season, has also proved unpopular with fans. The Dragons have once again named Norman in the halves for this weekend, but rookie sensation Junior Amone will wear the No.6 against the Roosters.
The Dragons have also opted to play Josh McGuire at hooker as a replacement for the injured McCullough. Dufty will also return to the team at fullback, forcing Jack Bird back to the centres.
Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter