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Glenn Stewart Big League Article

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Big League Feature - Round 21
    Joe Barton
    NRL.com
    http://nrl.com/News/Latest/tabid/10244/default.aspx?id=52220

    Ron Murphy remembers the cold Saturday mornings in Wollongong when he would occasionally have to utter the words that saw the heads of his young team members drop in demoralising fashion: “Glenn’s not playing today.”

    And Barry Stewart, father of Brett and Glenn, remembers also the neighbourhood kids gathering outside the family home to play games of backyard footy on his front lawn – and how Glenn used to stand out because of his toughness even back then.

    Because while eager onlookers would generally have their eyes fixed on whatever younger brother Brett was doing on the field – mostly scoring tries and running fast – the opposition always had one eye on his barrel-chested brother.

    The story goes Brett was always the super talented one, while Glenn just worked bloody hard and hit bloody hard.

    “Glenn was in a very good side, but if he wasn’t on the field his team-mates used to worry whether they could win without him – and the opposition used to like him being out too,” Murphy, Stewart’s junior coach at the Wests Devils, explained to Big League.

    “And that is the most important thing in opinion… what his team-mates think of him, and he just hit so well.

    “You would watch Brett in attack and you know you’ve got to keep your eye on him. But Glenny… boys just wouldn’t run at him.

    TOUGH NUT... “What you see about him on the field now, how hard he works, is what you saw from him in the juniors.

    “Glenn was always lock-forward and captain of his side, all the way through.

    He certainly had really good leadership skills at that age – all the boys in the team looked up to him.”

    According to Stewart’s current coach Des Hasler, nothing has changed – last year Manly players marvelled at Stewart’s ability to ignore injuries and play through the finals series on painkillers alone.

    And no doubt the spirits of the Sydney Roosters lifted when Stewart was ruled out of last weekend’s top-four clash, a game the Roosters would dominate on the way to a comprehensive 34-12 win.

    “Yeah, that’s true, you do miss him when he’s not there,” Hasler says.

    “His attitude (on the field) is pretty infectious, he’s been playing very well for us and he’s been playing well all season.

    “He works very hard at his game, both in attack and also the opportunities he gets in defence.”

    Stewart honed his leadership skills as captain of the undefeated teams through the under-15s and -16s – but it was never enough to get his face in the spotlight when it came to representative honours.

    But he didn’t pack it in, despite regularly being brushed by the Illawarra selectors – instead he proved them wrong by cracking the local first-grade side when he was 17 and regularly putting proven performers on their backsides.

    And he didn’t pack it in when he was stuck in reserve grade for four years behind a representative back row at Manly; according to his former coaches, he’s never going to be the bloke who packs it in if it all gets too hard on the field.

    “He’s had some hurdles put in front of him, he was never good enough for the Illawarra juniors as far as they were concerned… if he got in at all he got to the bench,” Murphy continued.

    “According to them there were a lot of players in front of him.

    I’ve got to say he’s worked his absolute arse off to get where he is.

    I haven’t seen anyone work as hard as what he has.

    “He’d always tackle because his commitment was fantastic and he had no fear out there.

    “He had a magnificent attitude towards the game and to his team-mates…. they were the people that he would refuse to let down.

    “The only time he’d ever let you know he wasn’t happy with you would be if I was ever brave enough to try to get him off the field – then he’d let me how he felt!”

    But just how did Manly’s dependable second-rower perfect his tackling style?

    “It definitely wasn’t from me!” laughs brother Brett.

    “Back in those days he used to just flick me and I’d fall over, and if it turned into a fight or whatever I was off and running straight away, I didn’t hang around!”

    Glenn Stewart reckons it helped that he started by bringing down the eldest of the Stewart brothers, Barry Junior, from a young age.

    “I think he’s about 6’2, he’s always been the big one, but he’s a gentle giant, a real teddy bear” the 24-year-old says.

    “He would rather we played ‘knee footy’ indoors back then rather than the stuff out the back because he knew he had soft pillows to fall back on.

    “Bringing him down in ‘knee footy’ I probably worked my technique a fair bit.

    “I was even slower than what I am now and had nothing to offer in attack, so I think I just concentrated all my work on defence and just tried to get through on that.

    I suppose I’ve developed a little bit of attack later on in life.”

    Despite honing his defensive skills over more than a decade of ‘knee footy’ Stewart had to wait until the 2007 season, and the retirement of Ben Kennedy, before he was given his first real crack at a regular first-grade spot at the Sea Eagles.

    “I probably wasn’t taking football as seriously as I should have…

    It didn’t really bother me too much that I wasn’t getting many cracks at first grade,” he admitted to Big League.

    “But the more chances I had and the opportunities I got up there I started to realise that if I buckled down I could probably force a spot.

    “It pretty much took ‘BK’ (Kennedy) to retire before I had a chance to cement a spot.

    That wasn’t all negative though, because there were a lot more bonuses to having those guys at the club.

    “I was able to take a lot from ‘BK’… and Steve Menzies was unreal for advice in all aspects of the game – that probably helped me mature a little bit the year before I did get the opportunity and then I just tried to make the most of it.

    REAPING REWARDS... “The 2007 pre-season was hard, like every pre-season I guess, but I suppose the mental aspect coming into trials, that’s when it became a lot harder.

    “It was pretty confronting worrying about that (first grade) spot, because it definitely wasn’t mine and I knew that I had to put performances out there to make sure you get the go.

    “It was probably more mental stress just hoping that I could take the previous years’ experience before that in reserves and just take it out there… not leave it on the training paddock.”

    Expected to be fully fit after a week’s break last round, you can bet it’s the Panthers’ players who’ll be disappointed to read that Glenn’s playing this week.
     
  2. Zep

    Zep Active Member

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  3. fLIP

    fLIP UFO Hunter

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    you want to teabag manly?
     
  4. Zep

    Zep Active Member

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  5. fLIP

    fLIP UFO Hunter

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    oh, gotcha. I thought it looked like a set of balls.
     
  6. Jethro

    Jethro This space is for rent Staff Member Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    LOL at Flip's last comment but yeah, thanks for clearing that up for us Zep because I had no idea what you were on about until then as I was thinking "i less than 3 manly? what tha?"
     

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