Manase Fainu arrested for stabbing in Wattle Grove

She was satisfied that Fainu had been convicted of a crime for which he is serving a full-time prison sentence and was not satisfied that there were special or exceptional circumstances to deny the application. It was granted and Fainu was taken into custody.

Concerned about the time since his last psychiatric treatment and that he had only resisted over the weekend, the judge said Fainu had spent a lot of time mentally and financially preparing for detention.

Manase Fainu (right) supported by fellow Manly Josh Aloiai (centre) off the pitch last month.

Manase Fainu (right) supported by fellow Manly Josh Aloiai (centre) off the pitch last month.Recognition:Walter Peeters

Williams said that while Fainu confessed “essentially in the media glare,” that was not a relevant circumstance, but it would be appropriate to address him during the sentencing.

She asked that he be triaged immediately by Justice Health and referred to a treating psychiatrist.

Williams confirmed a character reference from Manly trainer Des Hasler, who said he “really thinks Manase had everything and more,” and he had no doubt that Fainu was “destined for greatness.”

Defense attorney Margaret Cunneen, SC, said Hasler described a “Superman complex” faced by young men because they believed they could not be harmed, compounded by the pressures of professional sport.

“He also points out that his absence from the NRL over the past three years can never be restored,” Cunneen said.

She had indicated that Fainu’s mental health was “extremely precarious” and if he had presented in hospital over the weekend “it would have been in the newspapers straight away.”

“It’s extraordinary, but a rugby player in Sydney … who is found guilty of an offense is exposed to maybe more publicity than any other person in society, unless it was a famous actor or something,” Cunneen said .

She argued that Fainu would struggle to adjust in confinement, having suffered “an enormous downfall, an unthinkable downfall,” and that his father was ill with suspected heart problems after the verdict.

Manase Fainu in action during the 2019 NRL season for Manly.

Manase Fainu in action during the 2019 NRL season for Manly.Recognition:NRL photos

Advisor Jan Earl, who runs Elite Athletes Wellbeing Services, said Fainu developed an addiction to prescription drugs after shoulder surgery in 2019, but has been sober and not drinking alcohol since 2020 as it goes against his church values. His former psychiatrist died of cancer earlier this year.

Earl told the court Fainu has exceptional ability and has risen through the ranks, but if he is imprisoned “his career will definitely be over”.

She said that despite being subject to the NRL’s flawless stand-down policy, Fainu had been “shunned like a black cat” and money from the rugby league contracts of two of his younger brothers for 2023 had been used to to pay his legal fees.

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At a news conference on Friday, Hasler said Fainu remains active and has close ties with the club, describing the verdict as “just a shock”.

Manly chief executive Tony Mestrov said comment was limited as Fainu’s lawyer had expressed an intention to appeal. Cunneen previously said the verdict was “perverse” because of the evidence.

“As we have done throughout the process, we will support Manase in any way we can, especially from a wellness perspective,” Mestrov said.

Fainu will be sentenced at a later date.

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Joel McCord

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