Richmond AFL player Sydney Stack has escaped with a $6000 fine for breaching Western Australia’s strict COVID-19 quarantine laws, but his hopes of an international music career have taken a blow.
Stack appeared in Perth Magistrates Court on Thursday for his sentencing, having already pleaded guilty to one count of failing to comply with a direction.
Both the defence and prosecution agreed a fine would be a suitable punishment, but Stack’s lawyer Tom Percy also pushed for a spent conviction.
Mr Percy said Stack was a “budding musician” who was keen to travel to the United States to explore opportunities.
But the magistrate rejected the request, saying it was important to deter others from offending in a similar manner.
Stack spent almost three weeks – including the Christmas period – behind bars after being found in Perth’s party district Northbridge during his compulsory self-isolation period.
The 20-year-old had entered WA from Victoria on a flight that stopped over in South Australia.
WA’s border with SA was closed at the time due to a recent coronavirus scare.
Stack was granted approval to enter WA on compassionate grounds on December 10 for his grandfather’s funeral.
He was issued with a direction to self-quarantine for 14 days at a nominated address in Northam, about 100km from Perth, but was found by police at 1.10am on December 19 in Northbridge.
Stack also admitted he had been staying at his cousin’s residence in Belmont and not at his nominated quarantine address.
Mr Percy said Stack left the residence in Northam because it was overcrowded and he had a falling out with his family.
Stack, who had been on parole in Perth since January, is planning to return to Melbourne on Sunday to link up with Richmond.
But an AFL return appears unlikely for quite some time.
Stack still has to serve three more matches of the 10-match ban he copped for breaking the AFL’s return-to-play protocols last year.
The boozy night out featured a trip to a Gold Coast strip club and ended with a fight outside a kebab shop. Richmond were fined $100,000 for the breach.
Mr Percy said that Stack only rated himself “25 per cent” match fit compared to what was required at AFL level.
Outside court, Stack apologised for his breach, saying he was remorseful for using up the Western Australia’s valuable resources.
When asked if he thinks he will be able to return to AFL ranks after serving the remainder of his ban, Stack replied: “Not in my head, I don’t think so.”
“It (my body) is not AFL ready. I have a lot of work to do when I get back.”
Stack has played 26 games for the Tigers, but is out of contract at season’s end and faces an uncertain future.
Mr Percy said Stack knew he was unlikely to get another chance if he made another mistake.