‘As close to murder as you can get’
Manly NRL player Manase Fainu will be released from jail despite a court hearing he went dangerously close to killing a man in an alleged knife attack at a church dance.
Fainu is expected to return to Sea Eagles training in the coming weeks after he was released on strict bail conditions on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old will return to court next month as he faces several charges, including recklessly cause grievous bodily harm in company, relating to an alleged attack in Sydney's west last month.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Rothman said the 24-year-old victim was "millimetres" away from being killed and said of the charges that "it's as close to murder as you can get".
However, he released Fainu into home detention and on the condition he not leave his house without his parents.
He will be allowed to attend Sea Eagles training, medical and legal appointments.
He is also not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs, contact any witnesses and must report daily to Fairfield Police Station.
Fainu has pleaded not guilty to all charges and was supported in court by Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler, teammates Addin Fonua-Blake, Moses Suli, Jorge Taufua, former teammate Api Koroisau and a large contingent of family members.
Manly football manager John Bonasares said Fainu, who underwent a shoulder operation three weeks prior to the alleged incident, would return to training in the next week or so to continue his rehabilitation.
He has been stood down under the NRL's "no fault" rule, but can continue to train with the club.
"His family have maintained constant contact, and a lot of his friends," Bonasares said outside court.
"He's in reasonably good spirits considering the circumstances.
"We'll decide (when he returns to training) over the next few days. Get him back with his family and get him back into a normal routine is probably more important than football at the minute.
"We'll continue to work with him in his rehab but it will probably start next week sometime."
Crown prosecutors opposed Fainu's bail application, telling the court they had three witnesses who allegedly saw him stab the man in the back at the Mormon church dance at Wattle Grove on October 25.
The court heard Fainu allegedly scaled a wall before the stabbing took place, was seen collecting an arm sling from the ground and climbed the wall again on the way out.
The victim was taken to hospital with a punctured lung.
Fainu will next appear in court on December 16.
Justice Rothman said Fainu was a risk to the community given the seriousness of the charge but did not believe he was a risk of reoffending with strict bail conditions.