Three players that were involved in a wild brawl following a suburban rugby league match have been hit with a severe penalty by the game’s governing body.
Three players that were involved in a wild brawl following a suburban rugby league match have been hit with a severe penalty by the game’s governing body.

Life ban for alleged footy stabber

A rising NRL star who allegedly committed a triple stabbing during a wild brawl with a rival footy team in western Sydney will never play rugby league again in NSW.

Ratu Nanovo, 19, who represented the 2018 Australian schoolboys team and was previously contracted to the Penrith Panthers under-18s, is one of three players to be served with a NSWRL lifetime ban from playing or attending any junior league match in the state.

Police told a court Nanovo carried out the "frenzied" attack, allegedly stabbing three victims several times, after playing in an under-20s match between Penrith Brothers and Wentworthville Magpies at Old Saleyards Reserve in North Parramatta on August 9.

Nanovo, who is also a former Fijian rugby league representative, is facing three counts of wounding with intent.

Bradley Middlebrook, 20, a Penrith Brothers player, was also served with a lifetime ban by the NSWRL this week.

He has not been charged over the stabbing, but faces charges of affray and assault occasioning actual bod­ily harm. A third man, who is currently under police investigation, will also be barred by the NSWRL.

Bradley Middlebrook faces charges of assault and affray.
Bradley Middlebrook faces charges of assault and affray.

 

"Three players have been issued with breach notices for serious code of conduct offences,'' a NSWRL spokesman said.

"The charges allege a breach of both the NRL code of conduct and the NSWRL code of conduct by way of assaulting or acting with aggression towards another person, and also behaving in a way that is contrary to the code of conduct and the spirit of the game.

"The adjudicated penalty, which can be contested at a hearing, is a lifetime ban from participating in or attending community rugby league matches.

Police on the scene of the stabbing at Old Saleyards reserve in North Parramatta. Picture: Adam Yip
Police on the scene of the stabbing at Old Saleyards reserve in North Parramatta. Picture: Adam Yip

"Two of the three players have been charged criminally and their code of conduct hearings are unlikely to take place until after the criminal proceedings have been ­concluded. All three are suspended until the code of conduct hearings are concluded.''

Police claimed in court that Nanovo ­allegedly got a kit­chen knife from his car and concealed it in his pants, before proceeding to stab a Magpies opponent and two spectators after the game.

Originally published as Life ban for alleged footy stabber


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