Manase Fainu has re-signed with Manly for a further two years, with the club showing a huge show of faith as the troubled star is unexpected to return until July of next year, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
The NRL suspended Fainu indefinitely under its “no-fault” stand-down policy.
Fainu was charged after allegedly stabbing a man at a Mormon church dance last October, with Fainu since pleading not guilty and will stand trial in July.
Despite the charges, Fainu would have been sidelined regardless due to a shoulder injury.
Reports suggest the Titans and Bulldogs were among teams that had expressed their interest in signing the 22-year-old once he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2021 season.
The Tongan international wants to repay the Sea Eagles for standing by him and has agreed to a contract extension, costing him up to $300,000 a season.
“I’m very grateful for what they have done for me with the position I am in now,” Fainu told the Herald.
“Loyalty is big for me. If you’re loyal to me, I’ll be loyal back to you.
“Fingers crossed that [I am exonerated], I want to beat this charge.
“I don’t know when I get to play but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. I just want to get out there with the boys.” Fainu said
Fainu thanks Manly officials like CEO Stephen Humphreys and recruiter Scott Fulton for all the support along with high praise for coach Des Hasler.
“I’m grateful to Des. Other clubs offered me more money. I just wanted to give back to Des for what he has done.” He said
Many NRL legends have said Fainu could be a future Blues player.
His siblings Sione, 19, Sam, 16 and Latu, 15, are also contracted to Manly.
Humphreys was hopeful the brothers would fulfil their dream of one day playing alongside each other in the NRL.
“We have agreed a new contract for Manase for 2022-3,” Humphreys said.
“If he is cleared of that, he would be available towards the end of next year.
“We make no comment on the judicial process, that will take its course. We are very hopeful of having him back playing at the earliest opportunity.
“Manase is a wonderful talent, everyone in the game knows that. He has attracted quite a bit of interest and we’re really pleased to secure him for the long term.
“He also has a couple of other brothers in our system. They all dream about playing together in the Manly colours and hopefully one day that will be the case.”