Rugby league star Mark Geyer has defended Paul Gallen after the former Sharks captain was filmed in an altercation with another man in a pub on the New South Wales south coast on Friday evening.
Daily Mail Australia exclusively revealed Gallen was filmed being restrained by up to four men at a time at the Shoalhaven Heads Hotel.
Gallen had gone to the hotel with his 2GB radio colleague Mark Levy, who could be heard shouting in the background: “Stop it.” Enough enough. “Gal, stop,” as the men struggled to hold back the 42-year-old NSW Origin legend as shocked drinkers looked on.
Geyer told him Mick Molloy, co-host of Triple M Breakfast about the dangers of going to the pub as a football star or boxer.
“Every time you go to a bar or anywhere, there’s alcohol and other men, (and) the alcohol and the testosterone creates the perfect storm as far as trouble,” Geyer said on Wednesday’s show.
According to Mark Geyer, high-profile athletes like football stars are always a target for trouble when they’re out in bars
“To be honest, I looked for it sometimes. I knew if I was in a bar and someone bullied me about my bar act, I’d be like, “Damn, I’m here having a good time.”
Geyer said the big difference these days is that everyone has a cell phone and can record what’s happening.
The ex-Penrith star explained that he often attracted trouble from aggressive bar patrons when he drank beer with his friends.
“So that’s the message to the young kids out there playing sport or making a name for themselves these days: when you’re out at night you think, ‘Let’s have another drink or let’s go down the street to that pub.’ “.
“Do not do it. It’s better if you go home. You are a target. You are definitely a target.
“Everyone will say, ‘Gal can have a drink, he can go out.’ But that’s really not possible when you’re so well known and he’s a boxer.
“A, he’s a rugby league star and B, he’s a boxer.” “It’s a double target for Gal because everyone will be trying to take him on.”
Geyer (pictured celebrating Penrith’s 1991 grand final win) says he often attracted aggressive attention from pub-goers while drinking
Geyer believes Gallen (pictured during the brawl, revealed exclusively by Daily Mail Australia) is a “double target” because he was a football star and a boxer
Geyer said his advice to his 22-year-old son was not to get into a situation at a bar or club that he couldn’t control.
“Today cell phones are like a loaded gun and they get you into a lot of trouble,” he said.
“Don’t look for it. “Do as I say, not as I did.”
When Daily Mail Australia asked Gallen about the incident on Tuesday afternoon, he initially said: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When told that witnesses had captured footage of the fight, Gallen added, “Don’t worry,” then asked, “What do the witnesses say happened?”
Hours after the video of the battle was released, Gallen provided a more detailed account of what happened.
“I was involved in an altercation with guests at the Shoalhaven Heads Hotel last Friday evening,” he said.
“The guests were unknown to me or the group I was with.” The video circulating online does not represent all of the circumstances that led to me being beaten first.
The Nine Network NRL commentator (circled in red) was held down by up to four men at the Shoalhaven Heads Hotel on the New South Wales south coast on Friday evening
“Although I did not strike in retaliation, I apologize to the owners of the hotel and the other guests for the incident.”
Gallen and Levy arrived together at the pub, also known as The Heads, where the retired footballer played pool in the beer garden and hit the dance floor.
The fracas surrounding the married father-of-four, which was captured on mobile phone cameras, occurred around midnight as the pub was about to close.
Witnesses claimed the fight began after Gallen lost a game of pool and a cue broke over a table.
Multiple sources said Gallen was bleeding from his face after being hit in the nose, which some observers believed was broken.