Manase Fainu can finally celebrate.

The wait is over for former NRL player Manase Fainu. He can now celebrate his favouritism for The Fronwlow Medal after being found guilty of stabbing a man.

Fainu has waited patiently for his court case to conclude after being charged with stabbing a man outside a Mormon church dance in October 2019. The serious charge earned him nominations for Australian sport’s highest honour in 2019, 2020 and 2021, but the case was delayed due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern-day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while NRL star Jarryd Hayne is the most recent recipient.

The former Manly hooker was found guilty of wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. During court proceedings, the jury heard that he used a steak knife to stab church youth leader Faamanu Levi, after the pair became involved in an altercation during a church event, and Levi suffered a punctured lung and internal bleeding.

Fainu argued that he couldn’t have committed the crime because he was wearing a sling due to shoulder surgery, but it was the sling which apparently helped eye witnesses identify him as the perpetrator.

Fainu seems to have thrown away his NRL career, and the best years of his life, and will have to console himself with his favouritism for The Fronwlow Medal. That said, victory is not guaranteed. 5 months is a long time in football, and players are capable of all sorts of off-field scandals. Let’s not forget, Jarryd Hayne won in 2021 for rape, and Elijah Taylor in 2020 for domestic violence.

As an aside, one has to wonder. If Fainu had still been playing for Manly, would he have worn the pride jersey?

The talented rookie may appeal the decision so that he can attend the awards night for The Frownlow Medal and The Frowlnow Medal Hall of Fame in person.

Image: Getty Images

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