Stewart Wants to be Number 1

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First Grader
Manly fullback Brett Stewart wants to move to the top of the try scoring list and add to his remarkable strike rate at Brookvale Oval when the Sea Eagles take on the Bulldogs to kick off round 25 tonight.

Stewart is second to the Rabbitohs Nathan Merritt’s 21 tries this season with 19 of his own, but more impressively he’s crossed 30 times in just 28 games at Brookvale oval and says he’s wants to put on a show for the Sea Eagles faithful and increase his tally tonight.

“Yeah I hope so. The trend just continues with me scoring at Brookie, I don’t know what it is. I think it’s just the atmosphere here. I’d like to add a couple more tonight.”

The 21-year-old is one of the in form fullbacks of the competition and believes the attitude at the club is the key.

“We’re just having a lot of fun, it’s great to play outside of Matty Orford and our forwards have been going great, making plenty of room for us out wide and as long as they keep doing that I think the fun will continue.”

Stewart’s form has attracted plenty of attention and he’s being talked about as a possible test fullback for the tri-nations in October and November and while he’s heard the talk he’s not getting carried away.

“I don’t know. It’s still a long way off. I suppose there’s an opportunity with the injuries to others at the moment, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I just have to keep playing good for Manly.”

He is aware that a good finish in the finals would bring a number of Sea Eagles into Kangaroo contention and that would be the icing on the cake of a good season.

“Yeah it would be. There’s a few of us there on the edge of the Australian team. Hopefully we can play good in the semis and be a step closer to a test jersey.”

The Bulldogs go into the match on the back of a 30-nil hiding by Brisbane and without Roy Asotasi, Willie Tonga, Willie Mason and Tony Grimaldi and Stewart thinks they will be revved up for a big game despite the big names missing.

“Yeah that’s for sure. They won’t be at full strength but the blokes who are filling in will step up and do the job, so we’re not going to be taking them lightly.”

Stewart says he’s looking forward to his duel with the Bulldogs custodian Luke Patten.

“He’s one of those fullbacks who really knows where to position himself and I actually enjoy watching him play. With his great support play and all round game so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Manly is relatively injury free with just skipper Ben Kennedy sidelined and Stewart says even his presence will help the team lift.

“Yeah he won’t be on the field tonight but he’s such a winner and has been a great influence since joining the club. Now we have to do our best to send him out a winner.”

Stewart also believes the return of Kennedy for the finals will give them a real boost for the business end of the season.

“Out of the whole year there haven’t been a lot of games where we’ve played at full strength. Of the games we have we seem to go alright. Our combinations just keep getting better and that can only be good.

The “house full” sign is tipped to go up tonight after 19, 253 packed in for Sunday’s win over Souths and Stewart says the atmosphere is terrific.

“I’m told Sunday was the biggest crowd we’ve had in 6 or 7 years, tonight we might have even more than that. It will be great to play in front of another big one.”

Manly has made the finals in all 3 grades for the first time in a decade and Stewart says Brookvale has been buzzing all week.

It’s been a long time since all 3 grades have gone so well. We’ve got a tough one but so do the boys in the other grades.

Source: NRL

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