Collingwood Player Narrowly Avoids Jail Over Nightclub Attack

I would like to apologise to all of those hurt, one way or another, by my actions. I’m deeply sorry for the pain I’ve caused a lot of people. The last 16 months have not been easy for anyone involved.” Those are the words that 20 year old Collingwood Football Club player Marley Williams stated following his extremely narrow avoidance of jail following an assault outside a Western Australia nightclub on ANZAC Day of last year. Williams had previous been found guilty on one count of grievous bodily harm, after he punched, and broke the jaw of, 29 year old Matthew Robertson outside the Studio 146 club in Albany.

District Court Judge Julie Wagner found that the punch was not premeditated, but not thrown in self-defence. Williams was handed a 12-month jail sentence, wholly suspended for 12 months.
The case has closely comes after the one of West Coast Eagles youngster Murray Newmanwho was also sentenced to 12 months prison in early March, though not suspended, for an act of grievous bodily harm on a man outside a Perth nightclub in November of 2012. Newman remains on West Coast’s rookie list whilst serving his sentence. The differentiation between the two cases is that the court recognised prior provocation directed at Williams.
Williams, for his part, has been given the green light by the club to return to the second-tier VFL competition when he is “physically and emotionally ready.”
The AFL, who in the past has ran campaigns on anti-violence through gameday and TV-based advertising, for which Federal Funding was allocated, simply cannot be happy that two listed players have been found guilty on similar charges within such a short space of time.
The league may insist that the work they do to educate and inform their players is of an extremely high standard, but it’s clearly not getting through to absolutely everyone.
Provocation is clearly a matter they simply cannot control. But the fact remains that, as media personalities and community role models, any success rate below a blanket 100% is simply unacceptable.
Photo: Scott Barbour via Getty Images.