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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Former Knight Tom Starling has assault charges dropped

Former Newcastle Knight Tom Starling has had six of his seven charges dropped stemming from a brawl with security and police on the Central Coast last December.

The 22-year-old, now with the Canberra Raiders, fronted the magistrate at Gosford Local Court on Thursday 21 January, where he had six charges, including five counts of assaulting a police officer and one count of affray, withdrawn.

The remaining charge is for hindering an officer to which he pleaded not guilty, according to local reporters.

Starling was out celebrating a friend’s birthday in Kincumber on Saturday 5 December with his family and fellow NRL stars Kalyn Ponga, Connor Watson and Jack Johns.However, he was one of four men arrested after the incident, with his brothers Jackson and Josh also fronting the court.

Jackson had charges for assault and affray dropped while he pleaded not guilty to one count of hindering police.

Josh had three charges withdrawn and pleaded not guilty to two counts of assaulting police, one count of resisting arrest and one count of common assault.

Police alleged that Starling, his brothers, and one other man “became aggressive and assaulted police numerous times” after being asked to leave the premises.

They also claimed he attempted to grab the gun of an officer.

After the initial reports of Starling being arrested, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart came to the defence of his young star and was comfortable with his actions.

“It is disappointing but I have spoken to Tom at length [yesterday] and I know a number of our club officials have spoken to Tommy,” he said last month after the arrest.

“Speaking to Tom, defending his mother and his brother is something that I was obviously okay with.

“If he didn’t jump in to defend his mother and brother, I’d probably be more disappointed in the guy.”

Starling enjoyed a breakout year for the Raiders in 2020 as he stepped up in place of the injured Josh Hodgson and will likely play a big role for the club in 2021.

According to the NRL, he is allowed to continue training with the Raiders and will be available for selection in round one when Canberra tackles the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on Sunday 14 March.