Legend in making

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MANLY'S Brett Stewart last night took a major step to becoming a Sea Eagle for life.

Now the exciting 20-year-old is desperate to ensure he finishes his career as one of the club's all-time great fullbacks.

In a closely-guarded move aimed at killing off rival bids for the next four years, the Sea Eagles moved quietly to extend Stewart's contract until the end of the 2009 season.

The rookie No 1 still had two years to run on his existing contract.

Stewart, who has scored 26 tries in 35 NRL appearances, now aims to joins the likes of Graham Eadie, Matthew Ridge, Ron Willey and Bob Batty on the list of Manly's champion fullbacks.

``To be up there with those kind of names would be something to look back on,'' Stewart said.

``From what I've been told they were pretty special players and I'd definitely like to be up there with them one day.

``Having a couple more years on my contract has given me even greater confidence.

``I'm very happy at Manly. They've looked after me and extending my deal by another two years is an example of that.''

Manly CEO Pat Wilson said Stewart's terrific form this season had prompted the club to move early on a contract upgrade.

``It's an acknowledgment of the consistent performances Brett has been putting in,'' Wilson said.

``He's been a key part of our success this year.

``Looking at his try-scoring stats it shows he is as good - if not better than - some of the great fullbacks we've had at this club.

``This extended deal will give him a great platform for the next couple of years.''

Stewart revealed the Sea Eagles had made a pact to emerge with a top four berth following a testing month of football.

Manly host the Dragons, Cowboys and Broncos at Brookvale over the next four weeks.

``We've got the Dragons and the bye before we play the Cowboys and Brisbane and we don't want to slip down the table,'' he said.

``If we win all three we will be in a very strong position for the run to the finals.''

In-demand Melbourne halfback Matt Orford was no closer to making a decision on his future last night.

Souths, Manly and the Storm are all vying for his services.
Fantastic news. I actually asked Brett last night how long he was tied to the club and he said that it was up soon. I don't want to say too much but this news allays a lot of doubt expressed and I really, really hope it is a done deal.
Fantastic News. brett has been one ofthebest new talents to come through the club!
It is funny as MB and I chatted with him about this last night and he was either deliberately vague (understandable ie none of our business) or he didn't really know what was happening.

Either way it's good news for Manly.

Easy to forget how young he is.
Very smart move by the club - get him now before his stock rises up more.

As he matures he will be a great fullback for us
it is funny how these little things like signings and re-signings of players can actually boost the spirit and make you feel much more positive about things. Signing B.Stewart again makes me think my glass migh be a half full
You know i am happier about hearing the news about young Stewart extending his contract with Manly than what Orford's final choice will be.Fantastic news.
Great stuff. Been great at the back this year, his defence has been quite superb. Just wish he'd get more involved in attack.
Team P W L PD Pts
10 9 1 124 20
10 8 2 81 18
10 7 3 70 16
10 7 3 69 16
11 7 4 59 14
10 6 4 -10 14
11 6 5 107 12
11 6 5 -9 12
10 5 5 -56 12
11 5 5 30 11
10 4 6 15 10
11 5 6 -12 10
11 4 6 -7 9
10 3 7 -103 8
10 2 8 -81 6
10 2 8 -91 6
10 1 9 -186 4
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