Million-dollar man John Greco 29 February 2008 http://manlydaily.com.au/article/2008/02/29/8982_sports.html AUSTRALIAN fullback Brett Stewart is set to sign a long-term deal with the Sea Eagles which will see him join the leading money earners in the game. The rugby league cleanskin is close to signing a deal worth $1.5 million to $1.75 million over four years. The Manly Daily understands Stewart is on the verge of re-signing, possibly over the weekend. Third party arrangements and "special conditions" within his contract and final approval by the NRL are delaying the Wollongong junior signing the lucrative deal. Stewart's manager George Mimis confirmed with the Daily last night the deal would see Stewart be among the "top one per cent" earners in rugby league. "We have put a lot of work into this and are still negotiating," Mimis said. "It's been frustrating, but it (the contract) would put him in the top one per cent of the game." Mimis said it would be "highly unlikely" if the deal fell through after months of negotiations. "It's highly unlikely, but you never say never," he said. Manly CEO Grant Mayer said Stewart's off-field marketability increases his value. "He's future is massive," Mayer said on the eve of tonight's NRL trial between Manly and the Warriors in Caloundra. "He's a cleanskin and popular with everyone. He's been a tremendous asset to the club, on and off the field and a genuine role model for the game. Whenever you read about footballers misbehaving, you can rest assured Brett Stewart is tucked up in bed." Stewart will not play in tonight's trial against the Warriors as he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery. Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler indicated hookers Matt Ballin and Heath L'Estrange would get similar game time as they both push for the starting role in the season opener against the Sharks. "Both of them have been training really well and it's going to be a tough choice," Hasler said. "It's our last dress rehearsal before the comp starts and there's still a few combinations we have to work on." Only Stewart and New Zealand centre Steve Matai will miss tonight's trial as they recover from surgery. Prop Jason King and five-eighth Jamie Lyon will play after missing the Melbourne game a fortnight ago through suspension.