More jaw-dropping misbehaviour from serial offender Daniel Kerr throws a spotlight on the troubled West Coast Eagles. What the hell are they putting in the water over there? Alcohol, presumably. Perth is not taking the news well. Reports are trickling out of mass absenteeism, empty streets, closed shops and deserted shopping malls as citizens stay home. Apparently, there's been a run on tinned food and bottled water as households hoard essentials. It's unlikely the siege mentality will lift while Kerr is free to walk the streets.
Daniel Kerr was scheduled to appear in Perth's Magistrate Courts tomorrow (Tuesday) over an earlier matter in which he was alleged to have been involved with a teenager copping a broken nose and missing teeth. Apparently, the prospect of an imminent court appearance wasn't enough to check his behaviour over the weekend:
It is understood Kerr had gone to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital with a friend who fell ill at a Subiaco restaurant on Saturday night. But hospital staff had to ask him to leave because of his poor behaviour. Once outside, Kerr began arguing with a taxi driver, allegedly jumped on the boot of a taxi and broke off its rear aerial. Police are investigating claims Kerr struck the taxi driver with the aerial. He was arrested in a nearby suburb [Nedlands] and taken to the Perth watch-house. (The Age, 26/2/2007)
Today (Monday), Kerr took his medicine in court:
West Coast Eagles midfielder Daniel Kerr has pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court to assaulting a taxi driver in Perth on Saturday night.
Kerr has been fined $1,500 for the assault, and $300 for the damage to the taxi.
The West Coast Eagles have fined Kerr the maximum penalty of $10,000.
The original charge of disorderly conduct was upgraded to assault causing bodily harm and damage after details of the incident with the taxi driver became apparent. (ABC Online, 26/2/2007)
Of course, the mollified and subdued Kerr that presented in court was a shadow of the fired-up and aggressive thug in the watch-house:
A West Coast supporter, who shared a cell with the footballer after being arrested for allegedly urinating in public, said he did not recognise Kerr at first glance.
"To be honest, when he first walked in, I didn't realise it was him and that's because he was that pissed, hey," Josh Scott, 18, said. "The cops said, 'How's Kerr going?'
"I said, 'Is that Daniel Kerr?' I didn't realise because he was so pissed.
"I said, 'What are you doing, mate, you're meant to be playing in the NAB Cup game against Freo. Let's keep the tally rolling against Freo'," Scott said. "His response to that was, 'Do you want to have a punch-up?'. I reminded him about what happened with (Ben) Cousins and (Michael) Gardiner and he didn't really say too much." (SMH, 26/2/2007)
This man is a dangerous trouble-maker whose propensity for violence is well-established. What steps are being taken to protect the public (including hospital and transport workers)? No wonder the good citizens of Perth are cowering in their homes, afraid to leave lest they find a deranged footballer on a yet another drunken rampage.
Kerr is no stranger to the police and the courts, having been fined in 2004 for passing a fake prescription for Valium to a pharmacist. He was also involved in a brawl with Ben Cousins in 2002, in which Cousins' arm was broken.
What's the reaction from his club for this prize stooge casting a pall of terror over the Western Australia's largest city? Sadly predictable:
But after voicing his disappointment, [Eagles coach and chief apologist John] Worsfold said he would recommend Kerr receive a $10,000 fine - not lose his place in the team.
"Our match committee is pretty adamant he should cop a fine so we will be recommending that to our board," Worsfold said.
"I am not going to predict the future but he hasn't got to that level (of getting put back to the WAFL).
"He wasn't out that late, but he has had an indiscretion where he wasn't in control of himself, and that has hurt us as a club.
"He has to learn what he can and what he can't do. And if he can't have a few drinks and control his emotions then he shouldn't drink.
"There is no doubt he gets targeted more than anyone when he is out and about, so he now has to make a decision: 'Do I keep putting myself in those positions - what's my priorities?'"
"I think it was midnight when he got picked up and he was on his way home, as far as I know - in that regard he hasn't really affected how he can perform next week," Worsfold said. (AAP, 26/2/2007)
Yeah, right. Poor old Daniel Kerr was being targeted and picked on by the dastardly nurses and doctors at the hospital who sought to provoke him into a fight. Obviously, working Accident and Emergency in a major hospital at midnight on Saturday is very boring and the staff there have nothing better to to do than single out footballers for harassment. Ditto for taxi drivers working that shift. They get heaps of status for picking on footballers and egging them into fights.
You have to admire the chutzpah of AFL coaches these days. When they just come out and say "yes, he's a prick but what can we do? He's just too damn good at footy and I'm powerless to sanction him because we want to win real bad", they get hounded for it (like Mick Malthouse). On the other hand, if they try to mount a defence (like Denis Pagan), they just end up trashing their own reputations by spewing the most implausible rubbish like this.
Perhaps the best spin on it might be that the club is awaiting the outcome of Kerr's other court appearance this week (also on violence charges) before deciding to bench him. I wouldn't hold your breath. Until clubs like West Coast are prepared to say "we don't want dickheads like that representing us on the field", the citizens of Perth will have to hunker down and pray they don't fall victim to their out-of-control footballers.
Daniel Kerr pleaded guilty to assault at a party in Perth. He was fined $2,000 for striking a teenager in a brawl. (To put that amount in perspective, he will have "earned" this before quarter time on Saturday. Port Adelaide was fined significantly more than this for wearing a slightly-wrong uniform last weekend.)
His club said "[The West Coast Eagles] will impose no additional sanction and will make no further comment."
Privately, many fans and officials are delighted to see the Eagles rally in the face of strong competition from Freo for "worst club in the league". With both Jeff Farmer and Chris Tarrant in their corner, Freo have the upper hand. Kerr has been carrying the club for some time now, but many observers are confident a Ben Cousins supernova is imminent.
Reports are emerging about a weekend punch-on in a Perth nightclub car park, involving high-profile West Coasters Daniel Kerr and Andrew Embley. In light of the ongoing Ben Cousins fiasco, WCE needs this like a hole in the head. But it seems Special K's propensity for violence knows no bounds:
WA Police confirmed they had been called to an incident outside the Niche bar, but by the time officers had arrived any trouble had dissipated.
No charges have been laid, or look likely to be, unless an official complaint is made.
And after local radio stations began reporting today vice-captain Embley was one of those involved, the Eagles vigorously denied any wrongdoing by their players.
"As far as we are concerned the players have done nothing wrong. They are on leave, and they were out at the pub," an Eagles' spokesman told AAP.
"It was light hearted by-play ... a bit of push and shove ... and suddenly it has become a big thing."
Both Kerr and Embley are no strangers to controversy, with Embley having been caught up in the furore surrounding Cousins' suspension on the eve of the 2007 season.
Embley and teammate Daniel Chick were involved in a brawl over Cousins around the time of his suspension from the club in March. (Adelaide Now, 29/10/2007)
Hmmm. Is anyone else detecting a pattern here? These guys are bad news and it's a testament to the blind ambition of the West Coast Eagle's leadership that the four knobs are still on their books. Oh wait, make that three. How long before Chick and Kerr get the arse too?
More chilling evidence of the mentality that pervades the West Coast Eagles. This time, it was a sworn statement from an alleged victim of Daniel Kerr. The Age reports today that Drew Hodgekiss, 18, alleged he had his shirt pulled over his head and was bashed by Kerr at a party. Apparently, he then told police that Kerr said "I am too good for the Eagles. They wouldn't delist me."
This sort of attitude is not surprising. Mick Malthouse's remarks during the Tarrant/Johnson bashing incident pretty much confirm the view that standout players are above rebuke.
How disgusting. This widespread mindset in AFL means that no club wins or loses any more games overall (hey, it's a zero-sum game!), yet hoodlums know they can get away with whatever they like. Being told they're special only increases their proclivity for violence. Seen in this light, allegations that Andrew Lovett told an ex-girlfriend he could "get away with murder" take on a much more sinister tone.
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