CONTRITE NRL star Richie Fa’aoso has pleaded guilty to drink driving but will contest charges of malicious damage and failing to stop after alleged domestic row, saying outside court:”I’d never hurt my wife or kids”.
The 29-year-old, who was due to receive news on his playing future after breaking his neck in September’s NRL finals, apologised outside Campbelltown Local Court today after allegedly smashing a screen door and a bedroom window at his Macquarie Fields home causing his pregnant wife Torise to flee on Sunday afternoon.
“It was a bad decision, I take full responsibility for my actions. I am not a violent person, I would never hurt my wife or kids,” he said.
“I just want to apologise to anyone out there that I let down and I thank the NRL, Manly Sea Eagles and my family and friends for their support through this difficult time.”
The Tongan International didn’t say what caused him to fly into the alleged rage or answer any questions.
Mrs Fa’aoso didn’t comment as she left court 10 minutes after her husband was whisked into a 4WD outside the court.
During the brief appearance Fa’aoso pleaded guilty to mid-range drink driving after blowing 0.126 in King Rd, Ingleburn, at 3,30pm on Sunday.
He will contest allegations at the same court on January 23 that he knocked over furniture, kicked a rear screen door off its hinges and smashed a bedroom window.
Police allege when he followed his wife to a home in Ingleburn in his car, when police became involved, he failed to stop and and a short pursuit ensued before he stopped near Currawong St on King Rd.
Fa’aoso was also issued with a Domestic Apprehended Violence Order and he must not go near his wife within 12 hours of drinking or taking any illicit drugs, damage any property or harass or intimidate her as conditions of his continued bail.
Manly put out statement yesterday denying there had been any domestic violence and it is understood police were called by Mrs Fa’aoso because she was worried about him harming himself not her.
“The family has asked us to make it clear that this is not a domestic violence matter and that they be afforded some privacy at this time,” the Sea Eagles statement said.
The incident has been reported to the NRL Integrity Unit and Fa’aoso is presently undergoing counselling.
It was reported Fa’aso may have been suffering depression since breaking his neck in Manly’s finals win over South Sydney, costing him a chance at back-to-back grand finals after playing in the Storm’s victorious 2012 side, as well putting his playing future in doubt.
It was one of several head knocks Fa’aoso suffered throughout the season.
The 2009 Tongan player of the year had a turbulent debut season at Brookvale.
He was suspended twice early in the year for a dangerous throw of Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis in April, which cost him two months on the sidelines, a month after serving a one-week ban for a shoulder charge on Gold Coast forward Ashley Harrison that knocked the Titan out.
The journeyman has played for seven clubs after the Brisbane born player, who played his junior league for North Aspley, was picked up by Penrith in 2004.
He played one season with English SuperLeague team Castleford before playing 99 games for the Newcastle Knights from 2008 to 2012.
He signed with the Storm in 2012, playing six games, but signed a two-year deal with Manly shortly after signing the short-term deal with Melbourne.
Fa’aoso was born to a Tongan father who is half Samoan and an Australian mother of European background.