Stewart makes play for Kangaroos By Brent Read August 21, 2006 BRETT Stewart answers to the nickname Snake, but he may be a Kangaroo later this year. The Manly fullback was outstanding again yesterday as the Sea Eagles maintained their place in the top four by accounting for South Sydney at Brookvale Oval. The 21-year-old with blistering speed and incredible intuition scored three tries, taking his tally for the season to 19 in 17 games and enhancing his status as one of the game's rising stars. His first try in the fifth minute was a simple case of Manly playing the numbers game. His second and third showed why he is regarded so highly - Manly's best fullback since Graham Eadie. In the 51st minute Stewart took a Matt Orford pass on a second-man play and used his pace to skirt Souths' defence. Then, with 11 minutes remaining, he put the icing on the cake by swooping on an errant kick by Joe Williams and racing 65 metres to score. Stewart, fearing Souths' cover defence, veered right as he closed in on the try-line. He need not have worried as nobody got close. "No one gave me the heads-up that there was no one behind me," Stewart said with a smile. "I thought there were a few blokes chasing me. It would have looked a bit silly." Silly? Maybe. But it was the only time all day. In fact, Stewart is going so well he has put himself firmly in contention for the Tri-Nations tournament beginning in October. Stewart has vaulted into calculations with Anthony Minichiello out with a back injury for the remainder of the year and incumbent Karmichael Hunt sidelined with a foot injury. "He's pretty quick and it's a great asset for this game - speed," Manly coach Des Hasler said. "He's able to get himself in position on the field to score. Half opportunities he turns into points. You need that." Hunt aside, Stewart's biggest challenge may come from Melbourne custodian Greg Inglis, another potential superstar. "There's a lot of fullbacks out there," Stewart said. "I think I have to be on my game every week to get in front of those guys. I don't want to think about it." Stewart has enough to think about as the finals approach. The Sea Eagles are building momentum, having won five of their past six games to be outright third. They trailed Souths at half-time yesterday but, ignited by halfback and stand-in captain Matt Orford, kicked away strongly in the second half. Orford had a hand in four tries, including one which he gifted to hooker Shayne Dunley. Orford stepped off his right foot and looked like cruising over the line, only to pass inexplicably to Dunley to score his first for the season. "The reason I was screaming so hard was because I needed a try," Dunley said. That moment aside, Orford tormented Souths. When he is in such form Manly clicks into gear. Throw in regular captain Ben Kennedy, who yesterday ruled out a return to action against the Bulldogs on Friday night but should be back for the finals, and the Sea Eagles have a side capable of vying for the premiership. "With Ben Kennedy coming back, on paper they have a very, very strong side," Souths coach Shaun McRae said. "They have matchwinners all over, they defend well and I think they have a couple of opportunities now to go into the play-offs in good form. "I give them a fair chance of progressing through the stages and I don't see any reason why they can't be a grand final side." Souths' miserable season is mercifully drawing to a close. Yesterday was a step back for a side which has been competitive in recent weeks, although McRae could point to an injury toll that claimed centre Yileen Gordon (AC joint), five-eighth Beau Champion (ankle) and halfback Joe Williams (thumb).