Drink issue blots Knight's career

TROUBLED Newcastle Knight Albert Kelly will continue alcohol counselling, after pleading guilty yesterday to smashing a light at Newcastle nightspot Fannys.

Kelly, who tore his hamstring playing for Central Newcastle on the weekend, has also breached a good behaviour bond from Sutherland Local Court, where he avoided a conviction this year for resisting police, assault, offensive language and failing to leave licensed premises.

He was sacked by the Cronulla Sharks in March then signed with Central Newcastle before joining the Knights.

The 21-year-old is a contracted Newcastle Knights reserve-grader who was suspended by the club two weeks ago.

It is understood first-grade coach Wayne Bennett convinced Knights management not to tear up the former Australian junior representative’s contract.

Magistrate Mark Buscombe told Newcastle Local Court yesterday that Kelly clearly had a problem with alcohol, which needed addressing before he was sentenced later this year.

Aboriginal Legal Service solicitor Julie Fleming said Kelly was not a regular drinker but often got himself in trouble when he did drink.

Kelly arrived at Fannys at 12.30am on Tuesday, April 26, police facts stated.

His identification was scanned on a computer by security staff, who were alerted that Kelly was on the ‘‘banned patrons list’’, the statement said.

Kelly was told he was not allowed inside, but he hung around the nightclub for more than two hours before he took his shirt off and smashed a light with his fist.

Police are seeking compensation on behalf of Fannys for $100, the police statement said.

Kelly pleaded guilty yesterday to malicious damage and remaining in the vicinity of licensed premises after being excluded.

He was fined $100 in Port Macquarie Local Court in March for offensive language.

Charges of resisting police and behaving in an intoxicated manner after being directed to move on were withdrawn.

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