NRL star Tom Starling, 22, was only punched in the face by a cop because he ‘tried to grab their gun’ during a wild brawl at a 21st birthday party that left him battered and bruised, police claim
- NRL star Tom Starling, 22, was arrested after an alleged brawl on Saturday night
- Canberra Raiders player was at a Central Coast restaurant for a 21st birthday
- It is understood a derogatory comment was made about Sterling’s mother
- NSW Police responded to reports a patron was refusing to leave at 10.45pm
- Sterling and three other men were charged with assaulting police officers
- NSW police said Starling was punched by a cop after ‘trying to grab their gun’
Rising NRL star Tom Starling was only punched in the face by a cop because he ‘tried to grab their gun’, police claim.
The Canberra Raiders player, 22, was arrested alongside three other men after a wild brawl broke out at the Shady Palms restaurant in Kincumber, on the Central Coast, on Saturday night.
Starling was celebrating the 21st birthday of Newcastle Knight Connor Watson’s brother with a group of family and NRL friends when a melee erupted involving his 19-year-old brother and bouncers about 10.40pm.
Rising NRL Star Tom Starling, 22, (pictured above) was arrested and charged with assaulting police after a violent brawl at a Central Coast restaurant on Saturday night
It is understood Starling (pictured) and his brother were celebrating a 21st birthday and were involved in an altercation after a derogatory comment was made towards their mother
The Canberra Raiders player (pictured left with girlfriend Chelsea) allegedly attacked police alongside two other men, 20 and 24, after a 19-year-old man was arrested
The footy player told Raiders officials he walked over to intervene and denied being aggressive or throwing a punch.
However, police allege he tried to grab an officer’s pistol during the melee the Daily Telegraph reports.
Officers, who were already on the premises and had rushed over to break up the fight, then reacted by punching Starling, according to a police source.
The altercation began after Starling’s brother claimed he overheard a derogatory comment made towards his mother when she was on her way to the bathroom.
Starling was allegedly told about the incident by other guests and jumped a railing to the downstairs section of the restaurant to help his brother.
The 22-year-old will claim that he was set upon and was not intentionally trying to cause any trouble.
A statement from NSW Police said officers arrived at 10.45pm ‘after assistance was requested by security for a patron that was failing to leave the venue.’
‘The 19-year-old man was arrested and while he was being escorted from the venue, police will allege three other men – aged 20, 22 and 24 – became aggressive and assaulted police numerous times in an attempt to intervene,’ the statement said.
Starling (pictured after the brawl) has claimed he never threw a punch in the fight
Starling (pictured with girlfriend Chelsea) and three other men were arrested and taken to Gosford Police Station after officers from the Riot Squad broke up the fight
All four men were arrested with the help of the Public Order and Riot Squad and taken to Gosford Police Station.
A male senior constable sustained a cut to his hand and was assessed by paramedics at the scene but no other officers were injured in the fight.
Starling was charged with five counts of assaulting an officer in execution of duty, affray and resisting or hindering a police officer in the execution of duty.
He spent the night in custody before attending Gosford Hospital to seek medical treatment.
All of the men were granted conditional bail to appear at Gosford Local Court in January.
A man is arrested at the scene of the brawl on the NSW Central Coast
Patrons scuffle with police officers during the melee that led to Starling being punched
It is understood Starling spoke with club officials at length on Sunday to give his version of the incident.
The Canberra Raiders released a statement confirming the club and the NRL were aware of the incident on Sunday morning.
‘The Canberra Raiders have been made aware of an incident involving Tom Starling overnight,’ the statement said.
‘The club has informed the NRL integrity unit. The club will not be making further comment.’
An NRL spokesman said the Canberra Raiders had ‘reported an alleged incident involving Tom Starling to the Integrity Unit.’
‘The Integrity Unit is liaising with both NSW Police and the club.’
Starling was due to return to Canberra for pre-season training on Monday.
The incident has been reported to the NRL integrity unit (Starling pictured with Chelsea)