1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

No.1 with a bullet

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    No.1 with a bullet

    March 2, 2008


    Manly's re-signing of Brett Stewart means the club's statisticians can look forward to a hectic four years, writes Will Swanton.

    Manly restricted Brett Stewart's latest contract to four years only because it's not possible to sign someone forever. They will never let him go. He's the club's biggest cult hero since Cliff Lyons. The most electrifying try-scorer since Bob Fulton. To put it all in perspective, if Stewart scores in the first match of 2008, he'll match Sea Eagles legend Graham Eadie's career haul of tries from 149 fewer games - that's right, one hundred and forty-nine.

    "I don't know how it happens," Stewart said of his unprecedented strike rate after yesterday committing himself to the club until 2012.

    "I guess the rewarding part is that you've been in the right spot at the right time and that you're where the coach wants you to be.

    "I just take them as they come. I don't run out telling myself I want to score a certain amount of tries or anything like that. There are a lot of good players around me, the team has been winning a lot of matches the last few years and our forwards get on top a lot.

    "That makes it easier for guys like me and Matty Orford to do the things we're supposed to do."

    Get out of here. Don't give us the old "the forwards get on top so it makes my job easier" line. It's true to a large degree, of course, but a lot of forwards dominate without their fullback rattling in 70 tries from 88 games.

    More ways to put all this in perspective: Brisbane's Karmichael Hunt has 38 tries from 82 games. North Queensland's attacking genius Matt Bowen has 86 tries from 158 games. Hunt and Bowen last season made 738 and 892 metres respectively from kick returns. Stewart lapped them both with 1361m.

    His most memorable try? "Everyone seems to remind me about the one against Wests Tigers last year at Brookvale," says the man in Manly's No.1 jersey.

    "There were three minutes to go and we were down by two points. Matty Orford put the chip back in the middle and I got on to it and scored. That was a bit special. It won the match for us. I'd swap any try for winning a match."

    First try?

    "In Auckland, against the Warriors. Twenty metres out. Mick Monaghan put me through a gap and I didn't have to do much, just stroll over."

    Stewart strolls over at the speed of light. If it was possible to name a try line after someone, the first would be for Stewart at Brookvale Oval. He's crossed that stripe 40 times in 42 matches.

    His teammate Steve Menzies holds the Manly try-scoring record with 138 from 254 games but, barring injuries, Stewart will fly past the Menzies mark and set a standard so high it might never be broken.

    In the meantime, he's gunning for Hunt's Test jumper.

    "There are so many good fullbacks around now," Stewart said.

    "We were talking about this the other day. You look at just about every club in the comp and they've got a great fullback. We probably all push each other. The main thing I want this year is to help Manly every week and hopefully get another go at State of Origin. But yeah, the Test team, that would be the ultimate."

    As a kid, Stewart worshipped Cronulla's Andrew Ettingshausen. He's seen Menzies follow ET's suit by bucking the modern trend and staying at the one club all his career, and he's become inspired to do the same. "That's important to me," he said.

    "If the club want me, I'm staying."

    The Sea Eagles have produced any number of cult heroes over the years. Blokes who lifted you from your seat. Lyons, Eadie, rampaging Terry Randall, Noel "Crusher" Cleal, John Gibbs and the chipping-and-chasing Phil Blake. Stewart is entering the same realm. Fast.

    Stewart snares $2.5m jackpot

    By Chris Wilson | March 02, 2008


    HIS credentials as one of the country's most eligible bachelors will certainly soar.

    After four months of negotiations, Manly fullback Brett Stewart has finalised a five-year, $2.5million deal with the Sea Eagles, and says he is strictly a one-club man.

    But the 23-year-old immediately rejected any suggestions of slipping into a comfort zone, telling The Sunday Telegraph he wants to prove himself as the best fullback in the game during this World Cup year.

    Stewart was one of the 50 finalists in Cleo magazine's bachelor of the year contest. Extra riches and job security can only enhance his appeal.

    But Stewart said the deal at Manly would give him the platform to improve his game and work towards being rugby league's premier No1.

    He rocketed through the representative ranks last year and is the incumbent NSW and Australian fullback. But he acknowledged injuries to Anthony Minichiello and Karmichael Hunt aided his rise.

    "I probably got (into the Australian team) through injury a little bit more than anything,'' Stewart said.

    "If every fullback's on board, to make it then, that's what you want to do. It's a clean slate and I think there'll be some good football played.''

    Stewart, who has the incredible strike rate of 70 tries in 88 NRL games, will become the face of the Sea Eagles until the end of 2012.

    And his brother Glenn has re-signed at Manly for three seasons, with coach Des Hasler also set to extend that deal.

    Both played a part in Stewart's decision, although he also sounded out veteran Steve Menzies for advice.

    "I'd like to be a one-club player like Beaver (Menzies) and this is just another step towards doing that,'' Stewart said.

    "I know I'm not going to get complacent just because the club has shown this faith in me.

    "I now know what I'm doing for the next five years and, if anything, it'll allow me to concentrate even more on my footy.

    "I suppose there is a bit of responsibility now, but I'm comfortable with that.''

    Unable to run for three months because of a knee operation in October, Stewart turned to the video room to improve his support play.

    But he still hasn't watched footage of the second half from last year's losing grand final, when he was knocked out and helped from the field.

    Stewart won't play a trial, but insists he will be fit for Manly's season-opener against the Sharks at Brookvale on March 15.

    "The last five or six weeks I've got back into things and now I'm back to full strength again.''

Share This Page