A Melbourne footy player is facing a long stint on the sidelines after being coward-punched while trying to break up a street brawl.
Chevy Andersen, who plays for the Balwyn Tigers in Victoria's Eastern Football League, suffered devastating facial injuries after being punched outside Richmond’s Swan Hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning.
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Anderson and teammates reportedly defused the brawl before he was coward-punched by one man while walking away.
Anderson's teammate Jye Chirgwin said he was backing away when he was hit.
"He fell straight back onto his head and was out for a few seconds," Mr Chirgwin told Nine News.
"And then as he started getting up, that's when the blood started coming everywhere and he's fallen back over."
Anderson's nose is broken in three places, while he also suffered multiple facial fractures.
Two men were later arrested, with a 20-year-old Mount Eliza man charged with assault.
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Balwyn FC president Richard Wilson said Anderson was lucky not to have been killed.
Wilson mentioned the tragic death of footballer Pat Cronin in 2016 following a coward-punch attack.
“It’s a miracle he (Andersen) didn’t become a statistic of these coward, king-hit punches," Wilson told the Herald Sun.
"This behaviour and the violence has to stop. The football leagues, the AFL, the VFL and the local leagues need to play a role.
"Hopefully people who do this are appropriately dealt with through the courts."
Wilson said Andersen will undergo surgery on Friday and faces a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
“From a recovery perspective, we’ll make sure he’s got all the right medical (help) around him and the concussion side of things, we’ll make sure there’s some tests done around that,” Wilson said.
“He’s got all that emotional support so I think we’ll have it covered, and work-wise, he’ll be looked after.
“There’s no pressure on him to do anything other than to get better.”
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