Essendon footballer Nathan Lovett-Murray has been released from hospital after being stabbed in Melbourne's north on Tuesday in a domestic incident that has sent "a shiver down the spine" of the football club.
Police on Wednesday morning confirmed that a 30-year-old Pascoe Vale man was attacked in Reservoir during a domestic incident. Emergency services went to a house in Wright Street just after 10pm after a fight between three men.
From what we understand it took place at Nathan's girlfriend's house, in the night or in the early hours of this morning, and it involved an ex-boyfriend who, we understand, has a restraining order against him.
There was blood spattered all over the front doorstep and what appeared to be dark marks on the lawn.
Stabbed ... Essendon's Nathan Lovett-Murray. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Lovett-Murray underwent minor surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after being stabbed in the upper right arm. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Essendon doctor Bruce Reid said the player was stabbed in his bicep muscle but his injuries could have been much worse.
"It is a dangerous area of the body as there are a number of nerves and tendons around the bicep but fortunately he has avoided serious injury," Dr Reid told the Essendon website.
"He did cut the artery in his arm and as a result has lost a fair bit of blood."
"Most importantly, Nathan will make a full recovery and is expected to resume training next week," he said.
A 22-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, both from Reservoir, are now assisting police with inquiries after being arrested.
The scene ... Blood covers the steps and lawn for the house in Wright Street, Reservoir.
"We understand he'll make a quick and full recovery, but at the moment obviously all our thoughts and focus is with him and his family, and his immediate welfare," Essendon chief executive Ian Robson said at a Windy Hill media conference on Wednesday morning.
"It's obviously been a very significant day for the football club with the launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan. Nathan would have been a big part of that and a big part of a whole range of activities ... in the build-up to what is a very significant cultural event for us, the Dreamtime game [against Richmond], not least of which a real contender to be selected to play in the game.
"This sends a real shiver down everyone's spine because Nathan is a really important person in the football club ... and a much-respected member."
Fight ... Lovett-Murray has been taken to hospital. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Robson said preliminary information gleaned about the incident, which was attended by police as well as ambulance officers, was that Lovett-Murray had intervened to protect his girlfriend.
"From what we understand it took place at Nathan's girlfriend's house, in the night or in the early hours of this morning, and it involved an ex-boyfriend who, we understand, has a restraining order against him. Other than that we're not quite sure," Robson said.
"Nathan was defending himself, is what we understand. But the precise circumstances and sequence of events will now be a matter for the police investigation."
Lovett-Murray was accompanied in hospital by the Bombers' welfare manager, Ashley Brown.
Lovett-Murray, a utility who has specialised as a high-impact substitute of late, has played one match this season.
Asked whether the stabbing wound could hinder Lovett-Murray's playing ability in future Robson replied: "It's too early to judge but the advice for now is that he will make a full recovery."
Essendon's players are on their weekly day off but were collectively informed about the incident and Lovett-Murray's condition.
Upon his release from hospital, Lovett-Murray thanked family, friends and the football community for their messages of support.
"Thank you to everyone for all the support, I am very grateful for all the well wishes,” Lovett-Murray said.
"All is well, I'm feeling good and I will now rest up for the next few days and look forward to getting back to training early next week."
Lovett-Murray has played one game this season and has spoken of his plans for his post-football career.
He has created Payback Records, a recording label for indigenous artists. He told Fairfax Media last year that he also wanted to enter sports management.
‘‘I’m looking at managing and mentoring indigenous athletes, but I also want to be more involved with the footy club, with the indigenous programs they run here and some welfare stuff they do here at the club,’’ he said in that interview.
Lovett-Murray has played 143 games for the Bombers since his debut in 2004. His contract was extended at the end of last year.
Speaking of the contract renewal, manager Peter Jess said Lovett-Murray offered more than just football smarts.
''The footy club have given him another 12 months and supported his indigenous mentoring program … mentoring young indigenous footballers in the community, regarding lifestyle and employment and a range of life outcomes, and ensures they can get the best for themselves.''
With Will Brodie and Scott Spits