“Earlier this week, police received a report that a 24-year-old woman had been sexually assaulted by a man known to her. Detectives from St George Police Area Command and the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad commenced an investigation under Strike Force Rouget.
“Following extensive inquiries, Strike Force detectives executed a search warrant at a home at Wollongong about 7.40am today [Saturday], where they seized a number of items relevant to the investigation.
“A 22-year-old man was arrested at the home and taken to Wollongong Police Station, where he was charged with aggravated sex assault – inflict actual bodily harm on victim. Police will allege in court that the man sexually assaulted the woman, during which she sustained injuries, at a home in Sydney’s south last Saturday. He has been refused bail to appear at Wollongong Local Court tomorrow. Inquiries are continuing.”
The NRL integrity unit is aware that Sailor has been charged. The seriousness of the allegations means he is automatically sidelined under the NRL’s no-fault stand down rule, which prohibits players taking the field if they face charges that carry a maximum penalty of 11 years or more in prison.
Sailor is without a club for 2021 after being told last month he would not be offered a new deal at St George Illawarra under incoming coach Anthony Griffin. He is under contract with the Dragons until October 31.
Sailor is the second Dragons player to be charged with aggravated sexual assault in recent years. Jack de Belin is currently awaiting trial for an alleged incident from 2018.
The Dragons responded to the charge on Saturday afternoon.
“St George Illawarra have today been advised that Tristan Sailor has been charged with sexual assault following an alleged incident last weekend,” St George Illawarra said in a statement.
“The club is taking the matter very seriously and will continue to work with Tristan and all relevant authorities. The NRL integrity unit has also been made aware.
“While Tristan won’t be at the Dragons in 2021, the club will continue to provide any necessary welfare support as he comes to terms with the matter.
“As this is a police matter to be considered by the court, the club will make no further comment at this time.”
Sailor’s surname had heightened interest in the impact he might have at the Dragons as he came through the ranks as a local junior and made his first-grade debut at halfback in round 23 last year.
But he has made only five appearances for the club over the course of the 2019 and 2020 seasons and after struggling to break into the side this year, he has been left to find a new team.
It was a decision that disappointed his famous father, Wendell, a dual international who finished his decorated career at the Dragons in 2009.
“He got two games off the bench and was expected to pull off the miracle play with limited game time,” Sailor snr told Wide World of Sports a fortnight ago.
“Now they say he is not wanted – my wife and I are very disappointed that he never got the opportunity to show what he’s got on the field.
“He’s done everything right all year. He couldn’t even come to my mum’s funeral because he was in the bubble, but he accepted that and now they cut him.”
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Chris Barrett is Chief Sports Reporter of The Sydney Morning Herald.