"You're being a smart arse, I'll knock you the f--- out" were the last words Christopher Allan said he heard before a flurry of punches from a man identified as St George Illawarra player Craig Garvey left him bleeding on the floor of the Hotel Illawarra yesterday.
Mr Allan and his friend James Stimson had started their night at the Illawarra Brewery, before heading to the Hotel Illawarra for a dance about 9pm.
Mr Stimson said they had been on the dancefloor about half an hour when a man acting ''aggressively'' approached them.
The assailant, who Mr Stimson identified as Garvey, allegedly first pressed his head against Mr Allan's before punching him multiple times in the face.
Mr Stimson said his friend had then been placed in a choke hold, and was only released when he was close to losing consciousness.
Mr Stimson said Garvey then left the scene and he was able to alert the hotel's bouncers.
An Instagram photo allegedly taken at the Hotel Illawarra on Thursday night shows Garvey with St George Illawarra teammates Mitch Rein and Yaw Kiti Glymin.
The photo was posted on Rein's Instagram page on Friday morning but was later taken down.
Speaking outside Wollongong Hospital on Friday, Mr Allan said he couldn't understand why he had been singled out.
The punches had caused his left eye to close up from severe swelling, and at lunchtime Mr Allan said he was still waiting to find out if he had suffered a fracture.
''I don't put my hands on someone else for no reason and I expect the same thing from other people,'' he said.
''I was having a good night up until that point and I've been dealing with it ever since, not to mention the pain I'm in. It doesn't tickle.''
Mr Stimson said Mr Allan had been trying to defuse the situation before the assault.
''Out of nowhere he put his head to Chris's head a few times and then threw multiple punches,'' Mr Stimson said.
''Then he [Mr Allan] fell to the ground.''I tried to grab the guy, he got Chris and was choking him. He let go eventually because Chris nearly passed out and he just took off.
''It was a coward act man, a coward act.
''It's just shattering, we were out trying to have a good night, having so much fun and it got cut short for some cowardly act.''
Just before 1pm on Friday, the St George Illawarra club released a statement saying: ''The St George Illawarra Dragons have been made aware of an alleged incident involving a Dragons player in Wollongong last night and the club is presently investigating the circumstances and has advised the NRL Integrity Unit accordingly''.
Fairfax Media has been unable to contact Garvey directly for comment. A police media spokeswoman said a 26-year-old man was taken to Wollongong Hospital with eye and cheek injuries.
She said the man was injured following a scuffle with another man.While police were on scene, a separate "large" brawl occurred, leading to multiple arrests. Wollongong police are continuing to investigate the matter.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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