A shaken ex-Wallabies star Toutai Kefu has spoken for the first time since he and his family were attacked with machetes and axes during a terrifying home invasion in Brisbane.
Kefu suffered critical wounds to his abdomen while trying to defend his family in their Coorparoo home early last Monday.
On Friday, the 47-year-old said he was still having “outbursts of crying” after the incident.
“I’m just grateful that we all got out,” he said
“We’re alive. You know, there might be a little bit of damage moving forward, but we’re still breathing.
His wife Rachel will remain in hospital for another two weeks and might never regain full use of one of her arms. Kefu’s adult son Josh and teenage daughter Maddi were also stabbed in the attack.
Four teenage boys, aged between 13 and 15, have been charged with 44 offences including attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.
Kefu, a former Australia rugby international, spoke publicly for the first time on Friday.
“I’m taking it day-by-day,” he said outside his home.
“At times you just, you know, there’s outbursts of crying.”
Kefu said the nightmare began when his wife woke up after hearing a rustle, which she mistook for a possum, on Monday night.
When she went downstairs to investigate she came upon three teens and screamed out, waking up her husband.
Kefu said when he saw how young they were he was initially shocked.
But the situation took a dark turn when the intruders allegedly started attacking him and his wife with a machete and an axe.
Kefu’s son Josh, 21, was woken by the commotion and took on the attackers.
“He absolutely went into beast mode, you know, I had the two intruders on me and he just jumped in with no fear, and he copped a couple of hacks to his back,” he said.
“It could have been certainly a different outcome if he didn’t turn up, he had no thought for his own safety.”
Kefu’s 18-year-old daughter Maddi was also stabbed before one of the intruders ran outside and got into a car, which drove off.
While the second intruder was waiting for the car to come back, Kefu’s neighbour Ben Cannon, a local real estate agent and cousin of Toutai’s former Wallabies teammate Brendan Cannon, arrived.
He tackled the teenager and pinned him down until police arrived.
“If he didn’t turn up, it could have been a different story,” he said.
“He’s an absolute hero, incredibly heroic.”
Police arrived not long after and Kefu, his wife, son and daughter were rushed to hospital.
He said his wife Rachel would spend at least another fortnight in hospital and might never get 100 per cent use of her badly injured arm.
“The doctor said to her if the blade was sharper it could have cut her whole arm off, of bone actually stopped the blade,” he said.
“It was really graphic, and she’s just a trooper, old Rach.
“She’s the biggest one that’s struggling. Yeah, it’ll be a slow process, we’ll take each day as it comes, you know, every time I talk about my family I get emotional. ”
Kefu thanked the doctors, police, the public and the rugby union community for their support over the past week.
“The outpouring of love and the well wishes from everyone has just been unbelievable,” he said.
“I’d just like to thank everyone for keeping us in their thoughts during that time.
“As a family we’re very, very grateful and thankful to have that kind of support, so we really appreciate it.”