AFL footballer Jeff Garlett has escaped conviction over a brawl involving dozens of men, during which he was knocked unconscious on his 25th birthday.
The Melbourne player pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday to one charge of behaving in a riotous manner over the August 3, 2014 incident.
Garlett, who played 109 games for Carlton before crossing to the Demons, was placed on a diversion program until mid-November and must continue volunteer work mentoring children.
CCTV showing the footballer’s involvement in a brutal street fight over a taxi was released to the public, News Ltd reported.
The wild brawl left Garlett in hospital with a large gash to the head, while former Carlton teammate Mitch Robinson suffered a fractured eye socket
The court heard a melee broke out about 5am on Lonsdale St in Melbourne’s CBD after Garlett allegedly tried to jump into a cab that was already occupied by two women.
Both Robinson and Garlett were fined $5000 by the Blues at the time and missed games in the club’s unsuccessful run-up to the finals.
Defence lawyer Anna Balmer told magistrate Franz Holzer that Garlett had gone about mentoring young Aboriginal players since the brawl and would continue to do so through the Demons and the Fitzroy Stars.
Mr Holzer ordered Garlett to be of good behaviour until November 16 and to continue his mentoring roles with the clubs.
Earlier this year, Liep Kuel, 27, pleaded guilty to nine charges, including recklessly causing injury to Garlett, News Ltd reported.
His friends Emmanuel Golong, 27, and Abram Hothnyang, 23, both pleaded guilty to a charge of affray and recklessly causing injury to Robinson.
– with AAP