Test of the best Jason Avedissian 22 March 2008 http://manlydaily.com.au/article/2008/03/22/9334_sports.html MANLY fullback Brett Stewart has revealed he wants to develop into a complete footballer in an attempt to gain a strangehold on the Australian jumper this year. The 23-year-old Sea Eagles try-scoring machine is hurtling towards breaking club legend Graham Eadie's record of 71 tries for a fullback. Stewart is also locked in a highly competitive duel with Karmichael Hunt, Anthony Minichiello, Matty Bowen and Billy Slater for the Test fullback position. Recognising the challenge ahead of him to retain his Test kit, Stewart told The Manly Daily watching tapes of Eadie regularly set up tries as a fullback has motivated him to update his game. "He was setting up more than scoring them," Stewart said of Eadie. "I spoke to the coaching staff at the start of the year and would like to add another string to my bow. I've been working hard, want to put my head down and work on my catch/pass and kicking game. "It's about thinking about what to do with the ball when you get it, instead of just running it back." Stewart doesn't just run it back, he carves up. The fleet-footed Wollongong junior is just two tries away from surpassing Eadie as Manly's leading scorer of tries by a fullback. The difference is, Eadie reached 71 tries in a career spanning 13 seasons, while Stewart has played just 89 first grade games after making his NRL debut in 2003. "I've seen footage of the '78 semis and grand final and it was a pleasure to watch him," Stewart said. "But I'm not concerned about breaking records and scoring tries. I just want to perform well at the team level. "I'm comfortable in my own ability to go out and perform well and get my name in the selectors thoughts. Nearly every team you look at has got a fullback playing well and could probably do the job. "It's a clean slate this year and the person who plays the best will get the rewards." Manly will settle on their starting line-up for tonight's clash with the Knights this morning. Hasler's first-try specials Zorba 22 March 2008 http://manlydaily.com.au/article/2008/03/22/9327_sports.html MANLY - under the coaching of Des Hasler - have perfected the art of scoring the first try in matches. In the club's last 16 games they have scored the first try on 15 occasions. They will look to keeping that trend at EnergyAustralia Stadium tonight against a bouyant young Newcastle Knights side ready to play for their lives. There has been an air of calmness about training at Sea Eagles headquarters this week but the coach and the players know a zero from two start to the season is unacceptable. Manly travel by coach to Newcastle this morning and will then rest up in a team hotel before going to the ground and returning home late tonight. Matt Orford and his side are determined to bring two competition back across the Hawksbury Bridge before midnight. "We started well against the Sharks but we didn't score points and we have to be a lot more patient in our approach to this game," the skipper said. "Too many times we went for the near impossible instead of waiting our time. "We have done some fine-tuning this week and I'm confident we will be a much more controlled side against the Knights." JOSH Perry handled a packed media conference with ease last Tuesday and refused to be tempted into criticism of ex-coach Brian Smith on the eve of his return match at his former homeground in Newcastle. At least six times Perry sidestepped the issue of his association with Smith during a frustrating 2007 season. "I am a Manly player now and what went on in the past is best left in the past," Perry repeated. "I accept that I will be given a tough time by the crowd but that's football - other players have had to return to their old homeground and face the music and this is just my turn. "I'm ready - I will have my team mates alongside me and I am looking forward to the game." Perry and his co-props Jason King, Brent Kite, Mark Bryant and Adam Cuthbertson will carry a lot of their team's hopes on their broad shoulders in the cauldron that is EnergyAustralia Stadium. THE NRL in conjunction with Australia Post will release 16 Cententary stamps next week to mark the start of Rugby League on Easter Monday in 1908. Manly captain Matt Orford will be the maroon and white's representative among the players chosen from each of the clubs in the 2008 premiership. The Sea Eagles will give several lucky supporters a chance to win one of the stamp packs. I SAW an outstanding young prospect at Brookvale Oval last Saturday ... but unfortunately he was playing for the Cronulla Sharks Toyota Cup side (under-20s). Karl Filiga, who is on a reported $200,000 a season deal, debuted for the Sharks in the centres after missing last season with a knee injury and being signed from the Bulldogs. Still way short in condition the strong centre scored two tries and was a handful every time he touched the ball. Sharks coach Ricky Stuart will give the youngster time to settle into his new club before bringing him into his NRL side.