Leigh centre Anthony Gelling has been found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on his ex-wife.
Gelling, 30, played for the Centurions in their match against Wigan last night, and was awarded man of the match.
And this morning, a jury took just over four hours to reach their verdict.
The court had previously heard that he threw a punch at his then-wife Toni Mackey, which broke bones in her nose and eye socket as well as causing a black eye and cut above her right eyebrow.
Imagine the hero your child was looking up to was capable of doing this… And then instead of being remorseful makes up a ludicrous story of self defence.. If these crimes aren’t punished how will we ever see change? Domestic violence is at its highest in 14 years in England pic.twitter.com/kbfNlAbS5X
— Mel Cahill (@MelCahill8) May 18, 2021
The incident occurred on February 6 last year, shortly before Gelling played for Warrington against St Helens.
He was subsequently suspended by the Wolves but returned to action last season, before leaving Warrington at the end of the season.
During the trial, Gelling said his actions were in ‘self-defence’, explaining that he feared he would be run over by the car Mackey was reversing at their home in Widnes.
He said: “I just panicked, there was a lot of adrenaline. I punched her. I just wanted to stop the car. I thought I was going to be run over.”
The court also heard that Gelling was ‘intense’ on match days, and referred to magnesium and zinc supplements as ‘angry pills’.
They had rowed over breakfast and Gelling wanted to get the pram out of the boot of the car to collect Mackey’s daughter from school, and he had opened the driver’s door to press the button to open the boot.
He later apologised and offered to get her an ambulance, but Mackey refused, and she later took a taxi to Whiston hospital and made a formal complaint the next day, resulting in Gelling voluntarily attending a police station and being arrested on February 9.
Gelling left Wigan in 2017 to return to New Zealand to be closer to Mackey, and the pair came to the UK in April 2019 with their young baby when the Cook Islands international joined Widnes.
Local press reported that Warrington head of rugby Kylie Leuluai supported Gelling in court and by his former Wigan team-mate Dan Sarginson outside the courtroom.