Brett's bittersweet battle

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First Grader
Brett's bittersweet battle

Brett's bittersweet battle

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THE pressure cooker position of fullback in the NRL would be a daunting task for any 20-year-old but Manly's brilliant number one Brett Stewart has already made it a habit to overcome the impossible.

And in doing so the likeable lad from Wollongong has become an inspiration for thousands of young people who are diabetics.

Rather than be secretive about his problem, Stewart meets it head on and this week agreed to a television interview on Channel Nine with sports reporter Clinton Fletcher, himself a diabetic.

Fletcher came away from the interview highly impressed with Brett Stewart and how he lives his life.

``He actually opened my way of think ing to several things I didn't know about the problem but he accepts that he has a particular lifestyle ahead of him,'' Fletcher said.

``As an elite sportsman he has no choice but to lead a healthy lifestyle. He is aware of what he can and can't do.''

Brett Stewart has a constant companion in his refrigerator at the town house he shares in Manly Vale with his Sea Eagle teammate and elder brother Glenn.

It is supply of insulin which he needs to inject into his body four times a day.

The pair are as close as brothers can be and Glenn is a tower of strength and support to Brett.

It is a bond that is heart-warming to see.

Glenn knows Brett's mood changes and need for insulin instinctively.

The loyalty the Stewart boys have for each other is both refreshing and amazing.

Both are products of Western Suburbs in Wollongong and both expected to play grade for the St George Illawarra.

But the Dragons were keen on Brett but not eager to sign Glenn. The brothers had made a pact with their parents Barry and Narelle that it was both or none.

Enter Manly and the Stewart boys left Wollongong to play junior representative football with the Sea Eagles in a package deal.

And when one player discusses his contract it is done with the understanding that both brothers sign for the same period.

Manly have never had a problem with that stipulation - lengthy bright futures are tipped for both boys.

The close Stewart family was knocked for six when at 13 and with no previous history of diabetes in the family Brett was diagnosed with the problem.

A sudden period of mood swings, constant thirst, fainting and body shaking alerted the Stewarts that there was something very wrong with young Brett.

For a while a promising football career was put on hold. School children can some times be cruel to their mates and Brett got sick and tired of explaining why he was suddenly so tired and needed constant medication. But even back then he got inspiration and advice from Glenn who urged him to continue playing the game he loved.

The result of perseverance, support and dedication is that Brett Stewart is one of the most lethal try scorers in the NRL.

An amazing strike rate of 16 tries in 19 games is his current tally. But he is much more than just a try-scoring merchant.

Against the Warriors in round one, the Sharks in round two and the Storm in round three he has shown that he is courageous and talented.

The best thing about Brett and Glenn Stewart is their humility. They are the same well-mannered young men who came to Brookvale with stars in their eyes a few years ago.

The Manly Leagues Club is packed with proud supporters after home matches of late but none are prouder than Barry and Narelle Stewart.

They have been to hell and back with the boys in the toughest of sports. Particularly with Brett. Each training session was a Mt Everest for the youngster who refuses to take a short cut despite his illness.

In Brett's first match in the NRL he smashed a shoulder trying to tackle a runaway Jamie Lyon at Parramatta Stadium. The rehabilitation was slow and Brett returned to his parents home to recover and start his road back.

Many in the same position would have given up.

But not this scrapper who comes from tough stock. He simply got stronger and faster.

His form on his return demanded he get his chance in the famous number one worn by so many greats in the maroon and white over the years.

At WIN Stadium in Wollongong tonight there will be a big contingent of fans from the Stewart's home suburbs of Berkeley to cheer on their favourite son.

They have become instant Manly fans because of the local boy who has hit the big time.
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<span class='smallblacktext'>[ Edited ]</span>


Journey Man
Brett's bittersweet battle

It would be nice to see a few locals there for the manly boys.

As the boys must come as a package deal we would be getting them slightly cheaper than individual valua - at least early on.

I really hoe we see Brett here for another 10 seasons at 16 tries/19 games. That will see him well past the 200 mark and possibly get teh record.


Kim Jong Dan
Staff member
Tipping Member
Brett's bittersweet battle

Brett and Glenn are both top blokes they a very humble as Zorba said and this was shown when they came to the touch footy day.

Top guys and Brett is a great full back, een more so now he is becoming more vocal at the back.
Brett's bittersweet battle

After being at the fan touch footy day organised, my love of these two just went up several notches. Not only welcome to play footy with the fans, they were cracking jokes and just ebign a lot of fun.

Well done to Brett and Glenn.


Kim Jong Dan
Staff member
Tipping Member
Brett's bittersweet battle

yup its good to see they are down to earth and their new found fame hasnt gone to their heads

Kiwi Eagle

Staff member
Brett's bittersweet battle

As I said on ME it is great to see these guys proving that Diabetes doesn't have to hold you back,it certainty doesn't put me off anything.

Guys like Stewart,Akram and McMillan in the cricket deal with the diabetes side of things well


First Grader
Brett's bittersweet battle

Absolute top blokes.

I hope they become Manly's finest!

<span class='smallblacktext'>[ Edited Sat Apr 09 2005, 05:18PM ]</span>
Team P W L PD Pts
17 14 3 141 34
17 12 5 118 30
17 11 6 125 28
18 11 7 209 26
18 10 7 97 25
17 9 8 63 24
17 9 8 46 24
18 10 8 3 24
17 9 8 -56 24
17 8 9 -91 22
18 8 10 25 20
17 7 10 -90 20
18 8 10 -97 20
18 7 10 -34 19
17 6 11 -89 18
17 4 13 -153 14
18 4 14 -217 12
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