Tom Starling had his first victory in court today when six of the seven charges against him were reportedly dropped by NSW police.
This is unquestionably good news for the Raiders. Tom is a critical part of the squad in 2021. He provides talented depth at a critical position. The idea that Josh Hodgson would get hurt was once too big a burden for the Raiders spine to bear, but with Starling in wait there is less downside from the risk that Hodgson may return physically restrained from his latest surgery. The Raiders style changes with Starling at the helm, relying more on the work of the halves, and allowing more pace through the middle. It’s a unique squad that can be so flexible in how they approach the game. They are better if he’s available to play footy.
It’s also great news for Starling. Firstly because it’s one more step closer to resuming normal progression around his career. We saw the mental weight that similar legal troubles put on Curtis Scott in 2020. The sooner this can be resolved the sooner Starling can return to his previous path (or otherwise). It also represents a good sign about Tom’s integrity. He was clear from the get-go that he hadn’t committed the crimes he was accused of, and it’s pleasing to see at this stage his version of events has been upheld (so far).
We’ll reserve full judgement of the situation until the legal process plays out in full. The remaining charge is still serious. To our limited legal knowledge, it carries a criminal conviction and a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail. We make no comment on that process, only to say that we hope it progresses quickly.
But for the time-being we hope Tom, and the Green Machine, are feeling a bit lighter today. The outcome of this whole affair looks a lot brighter than it did a few months ago.
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