Joel Bulgarelli playing for Burdekin in 2002 Picture: Stewart Mclean
Joel Bulgarelli playing for Burdekin in 2002 Picture: Stewart Mclean

Former NRL prospect jailed for jealous punch up

A FORMER North Queensland rugby league prospect has been jailed for punching his cousin whom he thought was sleeping with a former lover.

Former Queensland Cup player Joel Bulgarelli, who featured in a North Queensland Indigenous All Stars rugby league match earlier this year, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm in Townsville Magistrates Court yesterday.

Bulgarelli, who once played for the Sarina Crocodiles, was sentenced to six months jail for his attack on Steven Daisy on March 10.

The cousins were living together at the time of the attack when they got into an argument as Bulgarelli was accusing Mr Daisy of having sex with Bulgarelli's former partner.

Police prosecutor Subarnu Raut said Bulgarelli punched Mr Daisy in the face, stunning him, before hitting him again and then driving him to the ground.

"He continued to punch him to the head and then put the victim in a chokehold," Mr Raut said.

"Fortunately the victim managed to escape the hold."

The court heard Mr Daisy suffered bruising to his head and felt immediate pain and discomfort after being punched.

Defence lawyer Anderson Telford said Bulgarelli was a promising rugby league player who had previous been signed to a two-year deal with the North Queensland Cowboys.

"Unfortunately that never kicked on," Mr Telford said.

"He played for a short amount of time in professional ranks but ended up playing for Burdekin Roosters.

"He stopped an apprenticeship when he was offered another contract to play for Easts Tigers in Brisbane and he came back to North Queensland when his football career had ended."

Mr Telford said the attack was brief and argued Mr Daisy's injuries would have been more significant had the blows been delivered with serious force.

"Not only are they cousins but they were best of mates since toddlers," Mr Telford said. "They were best man (at each other's weddings)."

Magistrate Suzie Warrington took into account 70 days Bulgarelli had spent in pre-sentence custody when ordering an immediate parole release date.