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Let Marley Williams play, urges his lawyer

Date
Marley Williams... convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm. He will be sentenced in April.

Marley Williams... convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm. He will be sentenced in April. Photo: Getty Images

AFL may stop Magpie playing

Collingwood's convicted defender Marley Williams should be allowed to play ahead of his sentencing for grievous bodily harm, according to his lawyer.

Williams will be sentenced in April for the attack on 29-year-old Matthew Robertson outside a West Australian nightclub during the Christmas holidays in 2012.

Robertson received a broken jaw in the incident, and Judge Julie Wager has warned Williams the offence would usually attract an immediate prison term.

Williams had been pencilled in to play in Sunday's practice game against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium, until the AFL said they intended to discuss the decision by the Magpies not to suspend the 20-year-old.

Tom Percy QC, who unsuccessfully defended Williams, says any footballer in trouble should be allowed to play ahead of any sentence.

"I can't talk about my client, but a player in that position yes [he should be allowed to play]," Mr Percy told Radio 6PR.

"[West Coast's] Murray Newman is playing and until the court has passed sentence on him, I don't think a body like the AFL or his own footy club should intervene to prevent that."

Newman is facing a sentence for a similar offence, after being found guilty of breaking the jaw of Brett Marris at the Library nightclub in November last year. He will be sentenced in March.

Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury said yesterday the club was fully supporting Williams.

"We fully support Marley with everything that's going on at the moment," Pendlebury said at a Gold Coast training camp.

But with football observers tipping the AFL will force Collingwood to impose a ban, doubt remains over whether Williams will be eligible to play in Collingwood's round-one clash with Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on March 14.

Carlton imposed a two-game suspension on Heath Scotland in 2013 after the defender pleaded guilty to assault and was placed on a two-year, good-behaviour bond.

"Our position is the AFL is reviewing the full circumstances of the Marley Williams case and will hold discussions with Collingwood Football Club before making a determination on his playing eligibility for the home and away season," AFL spokesman Patrick Keane told The Age.

AAP

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