A former NRL star has been released from prison after serving eight years behind bars over a fatal punch.
A former rugby league star convicted of killing a man with a single punch has been released from prison, nine years after the incident changed multiple lives forever.
Former South Sydney captain Craig Field, who played 183 first-grade games over his controversial career, was released from Mannus Correctional Centre on January 3 after serving eight years in prison for manslaughter.
Field told The Daily Telegraph he had “changed” due to his incarceration and felt “mentally tough”.
On July 15, 2012, Mr Field punched 50-year-old Kelvin Kane outside the Kingscliff Hotel in Northern NSW.
Field, now aged 50, has said he was defending a friend he was drinking with in the pub and had entered the fight as a “peacemaker”.
A single blow to the head ruptured an artery in Mr Kane’s skull, making him unconscious.
He never woke up.
Although he agreed in court he had punched the man, Field’s legal team argued he had not caused the fatal brain haemorrhage that killed the cattle farmer.
Following a 14-day trial in the Supreme Court, a jury found Field, then aged 42, not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.
In court, Mr Kane’s partner described him as a “wonderful, loving and unique man” and broke down crying when the sentence was handed down.
On December 17, 2014, Mr Field was sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in jail.
Mr Field said in his interview with The Daily Telegraph: “When I was going through the trials, some might have thought I wasn’t remorseful but at no point did I think the outcome that night would be what it was”.
Over his eight year incarceration, he moved around 12 different jails in NSW and worked different jobs as a sweeper, making books, doing electrical work and laboured on an apple orchid.
He now wants to help rehabilitate young, headstrong rugby league players.
Mr Field began playing professional football aged 17 with the Rabbitohs, later captaining the team.
He later played with Manly and the Balmain, reportedly earning $600,000 per year at his peak, before retiring in 2001.