Footbrawler like a ‘puffed up rooster’

A TALENTED Group 4 footballer has been jailed for up to three and a half years over a violent alcohol-fuelled brawl.

Magistrate Roger Prowse said Matthew Zackerman Nean, 22, behaved like a “puffed up bantam rooster” during the street fight on January 12. 

“Other people won’t suffer cowardly acts of drunken violence at your hands,” he told the court in sentencing.

Nean sat silently in the dock as Tamworth Local Court heard details of how he punched one of the victims once in the mouth causing him to fall to the ground unconscious.

The victim’s brother tried to shield him before he was set upon by Nean who struck him with a single punch.

“That behaviour is absolutely reprehensible ... basically cowardly ... serious acts of violence,” Magistrate Prowse said.

“You’ve had a problem with alcohol for some time.”

Police prosecutor Matt Price tendered dental records and said they were seeking more than $1200 in compensation to cover the fees already incurred by the victims.

One of the victims sustained two broken teeth, a broken nose and lacerations, while another victim suffered bruising and abrasions as well as a semi-loss of consciousness.

Nean and the victims were known to each other through football, with an argument simmering for some time before it boiled over in a Peel St hotel.

The 22-year-old, along with one of the victims, was kicked out of back and front entrances before the brawl spilled onto Kable Ave.

Magistrate Prowse told Nean “you wouldn’t be sitting where you are now” if he had just gone home.

Nean’s solicitor Wendy McAuliffe said the 22-year-old was remorseful for his actions.

“His behaviour can only be described as appalling,” she told the court.

She said he had a lot of positives such as extended family support but there were negatives too.

“Issues with alcohol and drugs and the way he behaves under the influence,” she said.

Ms McAuliffe asked the court to find special circumstances “because of his issues with alcohol”.

Nean was supported by a large contingent of family and friends who openly sobbed in court as the sentence was read out.

Nean, who pleaded guilty to the offences, was ordered to spend three years and six months behind bars for recklessly causing grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was convicted of affray.

He will be eligible for parole in two years.

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