Former Fijian representative Ratu Nanovo is under police guard after an alleged stabbing spree, reports The Daily Telegraph.
It's alleged Nanovo injured three people after stabbing them after an under-20s game between Penrith Brothers and Wentworthville Magpies in North Parramatta yesterday.
Police claim Nanovo went to a car and retrieved a knife before using it to stab a 19-year-old Magpies player in the car park at Old Saleyards Reserve yesterday.
The other two victims are cousins of the Magpies player.
Nanovo was arrested later that night at his home on Victoria St, Cambridge Park, and taken to Nepean Hospital.
He remained at the hospital under police guard on Monday, receiving treatment to a laceration on his hand. He has not yet been charged.
A Panthers spokesman today told The Daily Telegraph: “This individual is not contracted to the club and has had no involvement with the club since March this year.”
Nanovo’s teammate Bradley Middlebrook, has been charged with affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm for allegedly taking part in the brawl.
Middlebrook crucially, is not accused of stabbing anyone.
The three alleged victims are all stable in Westmead Hospital, where a family member told The Daily Telegraph they were “doing okay.
“It’s my brother, my nephew and my first cousin … it’s been hard but they’re doing well,” she said.
“You wouldn’t expect this at a community rugby match, I wasn’t there … but they’re doing much better now … we thank God they’re okay.”
Police said the incident may have been caused by a heated moment on the field during the game in which Middlebrook was sin-binned for a shoulder charge.
“From what I understand at a certain point of the game it was a bit heated, there was a shoulder charge incident resulting in the 20-year-old male from Kingswood being sent from the field and it would appear as though tensions have gone off field resulting in this incident,” Cumberland Police Superintendent Darryl Jobson said.
During a bail application at Penrith Local Court today, Middlebrook’s lawyer Ihab Jamal cited the COVID-19 pandemic, Middlebrook’s youth, and his identity as an Indigenous man showed cause that he should be released from custody.
He also stated that his client would be fighting the charges.
“This is a matter Mr Middlebrook will fight, and self defence will be raised,” Mr Jamal said.
“My client says the reason he went past the other football team is because that’s where his car was.
“My instructions are that he was struck by the other party first, and he does have a number of visible injuries on his face.
“He reported to police … he’s not showing he’s trying to escape these proceedings.”
The prosecution unsurprisingly opposed bail, pointing out the fact Middlebrook was already on Supreme Court bail for a charge of reckless wounding relating to an incident which occurred in January this year.
He also said the prosecution had a “strong” case and were supported by a large number of witnesses and strong forensic evidence including blood at the alleged crime scene.
Magistrate Brian van Zuylen refused bail, saying the charge was “serious”.
“The court takes into account that he’s on very strict conditional Supreme Court bail for very similar and serious charges, and the court considers his prime responsibility is to not commit further offences,” he said.
“Given the bail he’s already on and the extreme seriousness of the charge, the court is not persuaded that he’s shown cause for release.
“Bail is refused and revoked.”
Middlebrook will next appear in Parramatta Local Court on October 8.