SEA Eagles stalwart Steve Matai has warned that other players will reconsider their futures at the club if backrower Glenn Stewart leaves at the end of this season.
The powerhouse centre spoke passionately yesterday about the special bond that exists between his good mate Stewart and the rest of team.
“Glenn is a big part of the club and he is a big part of what we have built here,” Matai said.
“I’m sure if Glenn goes there will be a few boys reconsidering resigning here.”
Matai said there was a core group of players made up of himself, Glenn and Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon, Jason King, Matt Ballin and Anthony Watmough who have been together at the Sea Eagles for a long time.
“We have built a culture where everybody who comes here feels comfortable and Glenn is a big part of that,” Matai said.
Manly's Steve Matai is tackled during the round four NRL match against the Sydney Roosters
“He and his brother are like the glue that holds us all together and if we lose either one of them players will review their contracts.
“We definitely want Glenn to stay.”
Manly is renowned for its unique culture that has seen them rise above the odds as was the case in last Friday’s gutsy win over the Roosters.
And Matai doesn’t want to see that eroded.
“It’s disappointing the club is taking this long to sort it out,” he said.
“I hope it gets sorted in the next few days and Glenn is here for a long time.”
Matai said the uncertainty about Stewart’s future was being felt by other players.
“It has definitely affected me, not knowing whether Glenn is going to be here or not next year or the year after,” Matai said.
“It sort of makes you think about your contract and what you are going to do.”
Matai’s current contract expires at the end of next year.
King, the Sea Eagles co-captain, also wants Stewart to remain at Manly.
“He is a close friend of mine and has been a teammate now for over a decade and you don’t like seeing your friends leave,” King said.
“But it is beyond my control and that is something for his management to look at and also the club so hopefully they can find a resolution soon.”