Player escapes one punch ruling

DESPITE being the first to sign up to the One Punch Can Kill campaign, the Warwick Water Rats will not take action against a player who appeared in court for an offence involving violence.

Nineteen days was the saving grace for rugby union player Anthony Mark Hawes, who pleaded guilty in the Warwick Magistrates Court on Wednesday to assault occasioning bodily harm, because the offence was committed in December and not during 2010.

Hawes’ head was not the first to roll under the newly-instigated One Punch Can Kill campaign for the three Warwick football codes after he punched a 40-year-old man several times in the head, causing cuts and bleeding, during an altercation outside his former partner’s home on December 12.

Hawes’ defence counsel told the court of his client’s “embarrassment” as he was part of the rugby union team and the campaign.

One Punch Can Kill is a bold initiative by Warwick Police and the force has sponsored three Warwick football codes in a bid to ban biff on and off the field – the Warwick Redbacks (AFL), Warwick Water Rats (rugby union) and the Warwick Cowboys (rugby league).

During the campaign’s infancy in October, 2009, Water Rats president Justin Wynn told the Daily News the club was keen to providegood role models for the community and would take a hard line on player conduct on and off the field, regardless of police involvement.

“That (Hawes’ violent punch-up) happened last year but I didn’t hear about it until early January ... it happened last year and One Punch Can Kill didn’t start until this year,” Mr Wynn said yesterday.

A conviction was recorded against Hawes, 22, who received a 12 month suspended sentence.

Ban on biff

- The One Punch Can Kill yellow logo will appear on player and supporter kits

- Includes Redbacks (AFL), Water Rats (rugby union) and the Cowboys (rugby league) on and off field behaviour

- Registered players charged with a violent offence will be dealt with by a steering committee

- Steering committee will include a representative from football codes and police

- Penalties depend on seriousness and the circumstance of the crime

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