Bulldogs star Ben Roberts bashed, arrested

Bulldogs half Ben Roberts was arrested after an incident at a Wollongong nightspot.
Bulldogs half Ben Roberts was arrested after an incident at a Wollongong nightspot.

Bulldogs halfback Ben Roberts was bashed outside a Wollongong nightclub before later being arrested for assaulting police.

Officers were forced to use capsicum spray on Roberts after his altercation outside the Glasshouse Tavern in Wollongong in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Bulldogs officials confirmed Roberts, who had a conviction for drink-driving overturned last year, was knocked unconscious in a previous altercation earlier in the evening, requiring medical assistance at the scene and again yesterday, including a brain scan.

Fairfax understands Roberts, a Kiwi international, was assaulted by a group of men, however after being treated he returned to the Glasshouse Hotel to find friends.

The 22-year-old was refused entry because he was drunk.

A police spokesperson said officers were called because he was "intoxicated and refusing to leave the area".

The spokesperson said an altercation followed with police, after which a Narellan Vale man was arrested and taken to Wollongong Police Station.

It is alleged Roberts was detained because he grabbed a policeman's arm and refused to let go.

He was charged with resisting arrest, common assault, refusing to comply with a police direction and offensive behaviour, and will appear in court on February 26.

Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad said last night he had spoken to Roberts and police several times yesterday and investigations were continuing.

"I was made aware of an incident earlier this morning, and I immediately began an internal club investigation," Noad said.

"We're extremely concerned and disappointed that Ben has been charged with these offences."

But Noad stressed that there were "other circumstances that preceded these charges which we're expecting the police to investigate further".

"Ben was set upon by a group of unknown males and king-hit from behind," Noad said. "He was punched and kicked until he became unconscious."

"He received medical treatment and then had further treatment, including a brain scan."

Noad said while he was treating the charges extremely seriously, it was too early to predict sanctions for the player.

Asked if Roberts faced the sack, Noad said: "It's too early to talk about that. Any employee has rights. Until the police investigation and the internal investigation, I'm fairly limited as to what I can say. He's got rights and we'll respect them."

Roberts, 22, was in trouble last year when he was convicted of drink-driving in Sutherland Local Court.

He was fined and his licence was suspended.

The conviction was later overturned in the NSW District Court. Judge Reg Blanche found the offence proven, but decided not to record a conviction.

Yesterday's incident comes just days after Johnathan Thurston, the Australian halfback, was arrested after locking himself out of his Townsville home, and comes on the back of a successful NRL fan day.