Disgraced NRL player Russell Packer has been refused bail as he awaits an appeal against his jail term for a drunken assault in Sydney last year.

The 24-year-old former Newcastle Knights player attended a bail hearing at the Downing Centre District Court today, where the New Zealander's barrister said he should be released in order to attend rehab for alcohol abuse and mental health issues, local media reported.

He was handed a two-year jail sentence earlier this month for punching a man several times and then stomping on his face in Sydney's CBD last November.

Enoka Time, 22, also a New Zealander, suffered two facial fractures in the assault.


Packer said he may seek to withdraw his guilty plea over the assault, claiming his victim struck the first blow.

"The other man stood up into my face and he punched me in the left side of my mouth,'' the former Warriors star reportedly told the court.

He said he had struggled with alcohol, including binge drinking, since at least the age of 11 and wanted bail so he could enter a rehabilitation centre.

Judge Helen Syme labelled the application "premature" and declined bail.

Packer also told the court he entered a guilty plea because "that was the advice that I had been given'', according to media reports.

"The legal team I sought said that was my only option,'' he said.

He has since changed lawyers

An appeal against Packer's assault conviction will be heard in a two weeks.