JUST days before a crime and law and order public meeting, a champion rugby player is waiting to see specialist doctors after he was king-hit, knocked over and hit his head on the concrete in a sickening assault in Tamworth.
Conrad Starr, a 27-year-old teacher and rugby union player, is recovering but has no recollection of the incident.
Teammates of the Pirates club backrower say the unassuming, quietly spoken Starr was knocked unconscious by the blow after a night out with mates.
The news yesterday came as civic leaders were preparing for a second public meeting tomorrow at TRECC on the back of an original meeting last December that attracted more than 1000 people concerned about the level of crime in the city.
Mr Starr is waiting for specialist precautionary treatment in the wake of the attack in Brisbane St. He’d earlier joined teammates to celebrate a minor semi-final win and was on his way to a taxi rank.
He was with two others and they’ve told of the sickening blow and the loud “cracking noise” as Starr’s head hit the footpath.
The two have provided information to police – but for Starr, due to become a dad in a few months, the incident is a total blank.
Yesterday, he said he remembered nothing of the alleged attack.
“I don’t have any recollection of it,” he said.
“I don’t really know what happened except waking up in hospital.
“It’s scary. I just remember waking up and all I know is the bits and pieces that I have been told.”
Although he’s been given details of the late-night incident, he admitted yesterday he did not know the man arrested and charged over the assault.
“I don’t know him; I wouldn’t have a clue who he is,” the physical education teacher said.
One witness said: “I’ve never heard anything like the crack his head made when he hit the concrete, I felt ill. The bloke just king-hit Conrad; he didn’t see it coming.”
Mr Starr said yesterday he’d never really believed late- night streets in Tamworth were dangerous, but that he now changed his mind.
“I just think you have got to be really careful,” he said.
Police say the incident occurred shortly before 3am outside a licensed premises in Brisbane St and 27-year-old Mr Starr was struck in the head by a man, then fell to the ground and hit his head on the concrete.
It is understood he lost consciousness for some time.
Nearby police responded and shortly after arrested a 24-year-old man.
He has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.
He was granted conditional bail to appear at Tamworth Local Court on September 10.
Mr Starr was taken to Tamworth hospital and discharged later that day.
Pirates coach Gary Walsh said club officials were hoping to help get an appointment for Mr Starr with a neurologist yesterday.
“Conrad is handling it and coping with it very well,” Mr Walsh said.
He said, to his knowledge, Conrad did not know the man who hit him.
“He was dog-shot by the bloke as he walked past,” Mr Walsh said.
Mr Walsh said the incident had nothing to do with the semi-final rugby game that was played the day before and football was not to blame.
“It looks like an intoxicated bloke has simply taken a cheap shot at Conrad,” he said.
Mr Walsh commended the quick response of Tamworth police, who attended the scene immediately.
He said there hadn’t been evidence of the police staffing issues – which are to be discussed at the city’s law and order meeting tomorrow night – in their response to the incident.
But he said it was disappointing such anti-social behaviour was taking place.
Mr Walsh said the club was looking now only to making sure Conrad was all right now.
“And making sure he can be there for the birth of his baby in three to four months' time,” he said.