The former rugby league international accused of stabbing three men in a wild footy park brawl has walked from prison on bail, cradling a heavily bandaged fist.
Ratu Nanovo, 20, shuffled out of Silverwater jail in his flip-flops on Friday, six days after he allegedly attacked three men after the final siren of a rugby league match.
Nanovo is accused of going back to his car, grabbing a knife and stashing it in his pants after his mate Bradley Middlebrook was sin-binned at a Parramatta footy field on Sunday morning.
A court has heard the ex-Fijian player then taunted the Wenty Magies’ Sione Latu and his relatives, yelling out: ‘Come up here, I’ve got something for you’.
The alleged stabbing brawl ended with rival Wenty Magpies player Latu, 19, and his uncle Fonongo, 22, airlifted to hospital in a critical condition.
Latu’s teenage nephew was also injured.
The relatives’ lives were saved by the work of quick-thinking spectators and paramedics who managed to staunch the bleeding.
Nanovo is then accused of fleeing in his car but was tracked back home by a police helicopter.
He had allegedly injured himself at one point during the brawl, with detectives finding the inside of his car soaked with blood.
Nanovo was taken to hospital for treatment to a serious cut to his left arm was charged with three counts of wound to intent earlier this week.
A magistrate said he had brought a ‘knife to a fist fight’ but granted him strict conditional bail on Wednesday.
However, his co-accused Bradley Middlebrook was refused bail, after a court heard he was already at liberty on bail for other matters at the time of the brawl.
Nanovo clambered into the back of a relative’s car on Friday afternoon and will face court at a later date.
When Sione Latu, 19, woke up after surgery for stab wounds to his stomach and neck, his mother told him that must be the end of him playing rugby league.
‘No more, no more,’ she told the western Sydney teenager.
But the brave young man, awake in his hospital bed and extremely lucky to be alive, shook his head and said: ‘I’ll be back’.
The Wentworthville Magpies player and his uncle, Fonongo, 22, were airlifted to hospital, clinging to life, on Sunday morning following a wild park brawl.
His cousin, 16, was also seriously hurt.
Police will allege that a Penrith Brothers player and one of his mates set upon the trio after the final siren, apparently because the rival front-rower was sin-binned over a shoulder-charge.
All three relatives are thankfully safe and well – but the horrific injuries Sione has suffered are a crushing blow to the passionate footy player’s hopes of building a career around his sporting prowess.
A relative said he feared the attack will stop Mr Latu from following his dream of making a career out of his footy.
Meanwhile, doctors have warned the young gun he certainly won’t be taking to the pitch again this year.
A devastated relative said: ‘My family is very humble and didn’t deserve this at all.
‘All (Sione) wanted to do was play rugby and get a career out of it now he can’t.’
Both Sione and his uncle are out of the ‘danger zone’ and are awake, alert and stable, with his young cousin returning home on Tuesday.
‘Definitely (Sione) won’t be able to play football for the rest of the season,’ said Elias Kassab, president of Wentworthville United Junior Rugby League Club.
‘Obviously he’ll need more rehab and more physio.
‘I’ll want it all healed up properly and that, as much as he wants to go back and play.
‘We’ve just got to follow doctors’ orders at this stage.’
But there is no keeping a passionate young man down.
Mr Kassab recalled: ‘Yesterday when he first was able to talk, the first thing mum was asking how is and that was: “I said no more, no more, now, yes?’
‘He turned around and looked at them and said, nah-uh – I’ll be back.
‘So he’s keen, he’s keen!’