“We are in the process of preparing all of the relevant documentation and seeking to put it before the court as soon as possible.”
With Fainu on remand, the Sea Eagles are without a specialist hooker after releasing Apisai Koroisau from the final two years of his contract. Koroisau, who anointed Fainu as a future Manly captain, left for Penrith to free up the funds required for Manly to retain a host of off-contract stars including Jake and Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker.
Rather than rush into the open market to find a replacement, Manly officials will await the court outcome in the belief Fainu has a strong chance of beating the charges. The club had previously tabled a two-year deal to departing Warriors rake Issac Luke as a back-up for Fainu, but withdrew it before the Kiwi international had a chance to sign.
The Sea Eagles will back fringe playmakers Cade Cust and Lachlan Croker to fill the void should Fainu remain unavailable once the new season starts. While both are more accustomed to playing in the halves, they are capable of filling in at dummy half.
Cust is likely to get first crack at the No.9 jersey if Fainu remains unavailable. The 21-year-old made seven NRL appearances last season after making his debut in round 10, before Walker was shifted into the halves. The Scone product is off contract at the end of 2020 after knocking back the initial extension deal the club offered earlier this year.
It’s possible the Sea Eagles may seek another back-up hooking option, with the likes of Jake Granville being shopped since news of the Fainu drama broke.
Details of the knife attack were heard in Liverpool Local Court on Monday. It is alleged a brawl erupted outside a Mormon church dance after a man identified only as “Big Buck” hit another attendee with a baton. It is alleged Fainu then stabbed a 24-year-old man in the back, who required treatment by NSW Ambulance paramedics and was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition.
Tabchouri claimed Fainu was incorrectly identified as the stabber due to the profile that he had garnered playing in the NRL for the past two seasons.
Fainu was “suspected to be a member of a Pacific Islander criminal group”, according to police documents submitted to the court, which added he presented an “unacceptable risk” of committing another serious crime if granted bail.
Fainu is scheduled for a committal hearing on December 16.
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.