What started as a feud over boundary lines between Wodonga neighbours ended with two men undergoing surgery for knife wounds.
Now father-of-four Shannon Hogan is facing months in jail away from his family for inflicting the injuries.
The 27-year-old pleaded guilty in Wodonga County Court to charges of recklessly causing serious injury and recklessly causing injury on November 28, 2015.
His partner, Haylee McKay, 25, also pleaded guilty to affray for her role.
The brawl erupted after one of the victims threw a beer can from the front yard of his Nicole Crescent home, which missed just Hogan.
Judge Geoffrey Chettle said McKay was lucky to only be charged with affray after she retrieved a knife from inside the house for Hogan.
“What would have been a brawl turned into something else because she pulled out a knife … they didn’t just lose, they got stabbed and slashed,” he said. “I accept there’s an element of excessive self-defence in this for both of them.”
Hogan stabbed one of the men in the arm causing significant blood loss and the victim was airlifted to Melbourne for surgery.
Crown prosecutor Neil Hutton said Hogan also struck a second victim in the chest and face, and the man was slashed in the ribs with the knife during the fight.
He required surgery and six days in Albury Hospital’s intensive care unit.
“The injury was potentially life-threatening due to the collapsing of his lung,” Mr Hutton said.
The incident occurred in front of the couple’s children, all aged under six years.
Barrister Phil Skehan said McKay was terrified for herself and her children and called Triple-0 about the fight on her front lawn.
Mr Hutton said the woman joined in the fight using a vacuum cleaner hose as a weapon.
He said Hogan told police the victims also put him in a headlock during the fight.
“He said he was scared when he did this and felt he had no option,” Mr Hutton said.
The couple and their children moved to Melbourne when Hogan was released on bail after four days in custody.
The court heard both accused grew up in dysfunctional homes filled with alcohol, drugs and abuse.
Barrister Olivia Trumble asked Judge Chettle to consider a community corrections order instead of jail to allow Hogan to continue being a good father for his family.
The case was adjourned for sentencing next week.