Manly fight for their No.1 man


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Manly fight for their No.1 man

Will Swanton | June 17, 2007

MANLY are adamant the bond of brotherhood will keep boom fullback Brett Stewart at Brookvale after his flawless Origin debut for NSW established him as a marquee player.

Stewart is off contract at the end of 2008 and while his asking price was already going through the roof with every try he scored for the Sea Eagles, his Origin appearance has meant his value has rocketed.

Sea Eagles chief executive Grant Meyer is well aware a potential contractual dog-fight is brewing.

This year Meyer signed Brett's brother Glenn until 2010 and despite the vultures from other clubs preparing to circle, Meyer is banking on a brotherly bond to help keep the electrifying fullback at Brookvale.

"Manly are keen to have him and Brett is keen to have his long-term future sorted out," Meyer said. "We've been speaking to his manager, George Mimis, about making that happen. My feeling is that everyone concerned wants him at Brookvale but obviously we know he will be highly sought after across the board.

"There's no doubt his value has gone up immensely in the last year, but he's said he's keen to stay at Manly. We've signed his brother Glenn for 2008, '09 and '10 and hopefully Brett will want to stay here with him."

While NSW selectors consider reproducing a scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when they pick the next Blues team, Stewart is one player who has nothing to fear now that Anthony Minichiello, forced out of Origin II with a back injury, is also going to miss game three.

Stewart followed his polished NSW debut with another slick effort as the Sea Eagles downed Souths 14-2 in a bog at Brookvale Oval on Friday night. Come Origin III, the insulin-dependent diabetic will be packing his much-publicised bag of lollies for the trip to Brisbane: snakes on a plane.

Meyer strongly denied the suggestion that Stewart had sought a contract extension last year, only to be knocked back in a decision that would have cost the Sea Eagles a small fortune given his meteoric rise since then.

Mimis can expect to be bombarded with expressions of interest from throughout the NRL and the English Super League.

Meanwhile, Meyer lamented the impact of Origin on club games at this time of year after an unusually poor crowd of 7341 turned up for the Sea Eagles-Rabbitohs clash.

It was rotten weather but the Rabbitohs are no longer the worst team in the world and more often than not, Meyer and the rest of the suits at Brookvale would be expecting at least double that figure for the competition leaders.

"Obviously the weather plays its part but at this time every year, during Origin, the NRL games seem to go through a trough with their crowds," Meyer said.

"It's a tough one to solve. People seem to take their eyes off the actual premiership when the Origin series comes around. It's a shame and I don't know what the answer is.

"The NRL has actually set up a subcommittee to discuss the draw for 2008 and the impact of the representative games - City-Country, the Test against New Zealand and Origin.

"We can't fill an 80,000-seat stadium for the one Origin in Sydney, and then the crowds for the weekend games seem to go down as well."


Reserve Grader
I sure as hell hope that Manly pay Brett what he deserves, having a brother contracted to us or him remaining loyal should in no way reduce how much we pay him. The guy is class!

Canteen Worker

First Grader
It's a Catch 22 situation though as if you have to pay big bucks over to keep a star or two there isn't much left in the piggy bank to have a strong side.

Do the stars want to make megabucks playing for a bottom team like the Roosters or get reasonable pay in a top 4 team???

Jatz Crackers

First Grader
I would suggest Brett seek out Beaver and have a chat about the benefits of staying at one NRL club throughout their career. On top of the sibling aspect, stability, friendships, club loyalty (both ways), minimal contract dramas, fan admiration, community ties etc etc etc

Its worth a subjective proportion of any larger offer elsewhere.


Beat me to it Jatz.

I reckon the beaver will be in his ear telling him to stay. I would be absolutely gutted if I saw him in a different jersey.

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