MANLY utility back Ben Farrar appears certain to be the club’s No.1 for the remainder of the NRL season after star fullback Brett Stewart was ruled out for the year.
Ben Farrar is likely to fill the No. 1 spot for Manly for the rest of the season after star fullback Brett Stewart was ruled out for the year.
Stewart is assisted from the field after his round-one injury against the Tigers.
Stewart had surgery on his troublesome left knee on Wednesday, but the prognosis is far worse than first thought with the brilliant custodian gone for the season.
It was originally hoped he could be back by round 20.
Farrar, who played fullback in Manly’s loss to the Eels, will wear the No.1 jumper against the Knights in Gosford on Saturday night.
Manly coach Des Hasler broke the news to his players at Sea Eagles training in Narrabeen yesterday morning.
“It was a shock to Brett and to the entire club, but he is a fighter and he will be back as good as ever,” Hasler said.
“The operation went well and Brett will make a full recovery but it won’t be this season, that’s certain and we now have to get on with the rest of the season without him.
“The players accept that and will respond to the challenge as they did without him last year.”
Hooker Matt Ballin said Farrar can now get the job done.
“I think he did a great job last week at fullback and I’m sure he can do it again,” the Queenslander said.
“He’s a different type of player from Snake, but he’s very good under the high ball and will fill in very well.”
Manly CEO Graham Lowe said the club has the depth to cover the former NSW and Australian fullback.
“It’s tragic,” Lowe said of Stewart’s injury.
“But on the positive side, he is going to be ready for next year, that’s the way we’ve got to look at it.
“Des has got the depth in the squad to handle it and he’s got quite a few options now.
“We’ve just got to prepare without Brett now.”
Stewart went into the operation confident he would return by round 20.
He suffered a similar injury to his right knee in round six last season and did return by round 25.