Jurrah returns to AFL as assault charges multiply

LIAM Jurrah has tonight received some much-needed good news when he is picked to make his return to AFL football for Melbourne in Saturday's game against Sydney at the SCG.

Jurrah is yet to play senior football in a harrowing 2012, but The Age understands the Demons have been pleased with his effort and intensity in VFL outings for Casey Scorpions over the past fortnight and are convinced he is ready to return to a team still searching for its first win under new coach Mark Neeld.

The 23-year-old's pre-season was hampered on a football front by a wrist injury that required surgery. He was impressive in his return for Casey against Geelong two weeks ago, and stepped up his game time to have 13 possessions and display strong tackling and forward line pressure against Box Hill last Saturday.

News of Jurrah's return to the AFL field comes on the same day that it emerged he faces four more assault charges.

Jurrah faced the Alice Springs Magistrates Court via video link from Melbourne over an incident where a man was allegedly attacked with a machete in March.

He remained silent throughout the hearing and was dressed in a dark jacket and Melbourne Football Club blue and red tie.

Jurrah has been charged with unlawfully causing serious harm and being armed with an offensive weapon at night. In addition to those charges he now faces four aggravated assault charges, against four different people.

The court heard that events that led to the charges involved two groups of people and most had consumed alcohol.

The AFL star is an elder of the Warlpiri people, who live in Yuendumu, about 300 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.

Despite the new charges, Jurrah did have a win of sorts - he was granted a variation of bail conditions enabling him to travel to Darwin to play football on July 19-22, should he gain selection. Formerly, Jurrah had been forbidden to return to the Northern Territory except for court hearings.

Melbourne plays Port Adelaide in a round 17 game at Darwin's TIO Stadium on 21 July.

A large media contingent was at the court for today’s hearing.

The case was adjourned until 23 July in Alice Springs.

With AAP