Tamworth league talent pleads guilty 

A TALENTED West Tamworth footballer accused of violently bashing two men in an alcohol-fuelled brawl has pleaded guilty.

Matthew Zackerman Nean, 22, appeared in the dock of Tamworth Local Court yesterday in a fresh bid for bail, after he was arrested early last week.

Police amended the charges with the 22-year-old pleading guilty to one count of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm to the [victim], assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray.

Two other charges against him were withdrawn.

The pleas came after the defence had time to view CCTV footage of the alleged brawl involving Nean’s three co-accused.

Nean’s solicitor, Wendy McAuliffe, said both sides needed a short adjournment to settle a dispute over the facts with investigating police.

“Because the CCTV is quite clear,” she said.

Ms McAuliffe submitted her client, who was supported by a large group of family and friends, could remain under house arrest until a bed could be found at a rehabilitation facility.

“Mr Nean has a longstanding and serious problem with alcohol and he wishes to address that,” she said.

Two men were taken to hospital, including one who was knocked unconscious after the alleged brawl on Kable Ave on January 12.

The incident was captured on security footage and police allege Nean was the ringleader.

Ms McAuliffe said her client’s actions were out of order.

“His behaviour is appalling,” she told the court.

“He behaved in a way he’s not proud of.”

But police prosecutor Sergeant Matthew Price said no fresh circumstances had been presented to the court, allowing for the bail application.

“Nothing new has been brought to the court,” he submitted, arguing that bail was still opposed for the protection of the community.

Magistrate Mark Buscombe said the charges were “very serious offences” involving violence.

“One of the complainants has received very significant injuries,” he said

Magistrate Buscombe said “given the serious nature of the offences” he had to refuse bail.

Nean will remain in custody until the case returns to court next week.

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