Manly NRL hooker Manase Fainu denies stabbing another man with a steak knife outside a Mormon charity dance party during a violent brawl in southwest Sydney.

Fainu, 24, pleaded not guilty in the Parramatta District Court to wounding Faamanu Levi with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Wattle Grove on October 25, 2019.

The alcohol-free function arranged by the Church of the Latter Day Saints was to raise funds for Jeans for Genes day. 

But the night descended into a violent brawl outside about 11.30pm, with witness Christmas Nouata saying that he heard his nephew shouting “he’s got a knife, he’s got a knife, he’s got a knife”.

“I shouted, ‘stop it stop it stop it’ … I could hear one of the girls screaming,” Mr Nouata said on Tuesday.

More concerned about breaking up the fight, he said he didn’t feel a punch to his own face before he saw the alleged assailants run away.

He never saw a knife nor the stabbing of Mr Levi.

Crown prosecutor Emma Curran told the jury in her opening address that they will be shown CCTV footage from about 11pm that night.

It shows Fainu in a sling after a shoulder surgery, arriving with Uona Faingaa, known as “Big Buck,” and others.

An argument broke out on the dancefloor and the DJ stopped playing music while Fainu and several others were ushered into a classroom where they were told “you don’t fight on church grounds,” Ms Curran said.

Mr Nouata said he distinctly recalls Fainu and his friends “walking around looking for trouble,” before the verbal altercation, and they were escorted outside by eight security guards.

The witness said he then had a “bad feeling” and requested they shut down the gig early. 

Later when Mr Levi and his friends were hopping into a car to leave Fainu’s group approached them in the car park, the Crown said.

One of the men said “let’s go, let’s go” before walking up and punching another man in the face, and a brawl erupted. 

One of Mr Levi’s friends is expected to tell the court that he saw Fainu holding a steak knife with his right arm bent at a 90 degrees angle and his left arm still in the sling. 

He then allegedly watched Fainu step forward and strike Mr Levi under the shoulder blade before moving towards his face and cutting him across the top of his eye. 

Mr Levi then fell to the ground and yelled “stop fighting, I’m injured,” while his alleged assailants left and tried to jump the fence.

An off-duty nurse treated him before he was taken to hospital suffering from internal bleeding and a collapsed lung.

But defence barrister Margaret Cunneen SC said the jury would hear another version of events that posits one simple but stark difference. 

“What is in dispute is that Manase Fainu ever stabbed Mr Levi in the back or in the eye or in any other place,” Ms Cunneen said.

“The scene of this event, this brawl was pitch black, and there were a lot of men involved and a lot of movement.

“And it was very, very quick.

“Mr Levi doesn’t even know who stabbed him.”

Ms Cunneen questioned Mr Nouata’s memory, submitting that her client was not on the dancefloor during the verbal altercation. 

“That’s not true. He was there”, Mr Nouata said.

He agreed no cutlery or knives were at the event as it was “not a five-star meal” they served.

The trial continues on Wednesday.