Sea Eagles make contingency plan for Fainu

Pamela Whaley

New Manly chief executive Stephen Humphries has a contingency plan for 2020 while NRL hooker Manase Fainu faces charges relating to an alleged stabbing.

The 21-year-old has been stood down indefinitely by the NRL as part of the game's no-fault policy, and his case is due for mention in court on December 16.

Until then, the Sea Eagles are in a holding pattern with no specialist replacement on the books and pre-season in full swing.

Speaking on Friday, Humphries said while the club will not rush to sign a replacement, they are exploring all possibilities and will be ready to make a decision once Fainu's case becomes clearer.

"We have to see how this picture evolves," he said.

"We're doing all of our contingency planning and there are a number of avenues that we're exploring.

"We hope Manase's innocence is proven soon, but we're not in control of that and that will run its course so we're putting our contingency plans together."

Fainu has pleaded not guilty to wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, affray and recklessly causing grievous bodily harm in company over the alleged incident, which took place at a Mormon church dance in western

He was released on strict bail conditions earlier this week and is expected to return to training with the Sea Eagles.

However, should the case drag into next year, the Sea Eagles will need to enact a contingency plan after they released fellow No.9 Api Koroisau to Penrith.

It could mean re-training lower-graders Zach Dockar-Clay, Lachlan Croker or Cade Cust to play dummy half, or hitting the NRL market in search of a first-grade standard player.

Humphries would not be held to a decision deadline, but assured there is a plan in place.

"The 16th of December is a checkpoint but it's not a decision point, but we'll have to see what evidence emerges and what that then means," he said.