Former Fiji international player ‘main offender’ in junior league stabbing

Ratu Nanovo, 19, is due to face court on Tuesday. Picture: BRISBANE TIMES

SYDNEY, 11 AUGUST 2020 (SMH)—Teenage former Fijian international rugby league player Ratu Nanovo is expected to face court in Australia on Tuesday charged with malicious wounding after allegedly stabbing two spectators and an opposing player with a 15-centimetre kitchen knife at a junior match in Sydney on Sunday.

Police allege that a brawl broke out after the final whistle in a match between the Wentworthville Magpies and Penrith Brothers under-20s teams at North Parramatta.

The game became “a bit heated” when Brothers player Bradley Middlebrook, 20, was sent off for a shoulder charge, Detective Superintendent Darryl Jobson said on Monday.

Police allege that Middlebrook and Nanovo, 19, approached Magpies player Sione Latu in the car park following the game.

Nanovo got a knife from a nearby car, concealed it in his pants then yelled, “Come up here, I’ve got something for you,” police say.

Nanovo allegedly stabbed Latu and his two cousins, while it is alleged that Middlebrook “threw numerous punches”, Penrith Local Court heard on Monday.

The two men then allegedly fled in a Toyota Aurion.

Nanovo was arrested at a home in Cambridge Park several hours later and was taken to Nepean Hospital where he remained under police guard on Monday as he was treated for an existing hand injury.

Superintendent Jobson said on Monday that police expected to charge Nanovo with three counts of malicious wounding as soon as was possible, and would allege that he was “the main offender”.

Middlebrook was arrested at Penrith police station just before 8pm on Sunday and charged with affray and assault in company occasioning actual bodily harm.

His bail application – before the same magistrate who refused him bail earlier this year over an unrelated alleged stabbing – was refused and he will remain behind bars ahead of his next court appearance.

“Anybody involved with the incident can expect never to have a role in our game ever again,” NSW Rugby League boss David Trodden said on Sunday.

Both teams have been stood down from the Parramatta Junior Rugby League competition pending the police investigation.

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