Stewart's hat-trick for grandad By Dean Ritchie http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23464100-5001023,00.html April 01, 2008 12:00am MANLY 52 WARRIORS 6 AN emotional Brett Stewart last night dedicated his history-making performance in Manly's 10-try thumping of New Zealand Warriors to his grandfather - who died last Friday. The Sea Eagles had been written off as $14 pretenders by bookmakers after successive defeats flattened their start to the season, but their 52-6 trouncing of the Warriors showed that ManlyÂ will once again be among the powerhouse teams of the premiership. Flying fullback Stewart's hat-trick made him the greatest try-scoring fullback in Manly's 61-year history. The 23-year-old has now scored 73 tries, surpassing the great Graham Eadie (71 tries). Stewart's grandfather, Dennis Hopley, died on Friday night of a heart attack in Wollongong. "My grandmother (Shirley) died eight years ago so they are now together," an emotional Stewart said. "It was good to be able to score the tries for both of them." It was difficult to determine whether Manly were sensational or the Warriors pitiful. Maybe it was a little of both. But it showed that Manly are back after early-season losses to Cronulla and Newcastle. "We're relieved - the monkey is off our back," said Manly second-rower Anthony Watmough, a superb performer last night. "Fifty points . . . no one expected that but we never started doubting ourselves either." Jamie Lyon, who looked sharp at centre, also spoke about Manly's emphatic victory. "We scored a few tries didn't we?" Lyon said. "It was our best performance of the year and over the last few games last year." Manly scored tries virtually at will. The home side led 22-6 at halftime and ruthlessly steamrollered the Warriors to record another six second-half tries. Watmough was fabulous, as was Stewart, halfback Matt Orford, new five-eighth Steve Menzies and prop Brent Kite. Manly coach Des Hasler said NSW selectors should take "a good, close look at Orford". "I read where (Wests Tigers hooker) Robbie Farah was a possible NSW halfback," Hasler said. "Well (Orford) put his hand up tonight. It (talk of Farah) is an insult to Matt." New Zealand had virtually no ball in the first half when the damage was done. What little ball they had, they squandered. There appeared little enthusiasm or commitment. Manly were the direct opposite. They looked sharp, kicked well and executed with precision. Sure it is only early in the season but, based on last night, the Sea Eagles will again be hunting prey come September. "The boys deserved that," Hasler said. "Defensively we have played well (in rounds one and two) and we showed tonight when you get some ball, what can be done." Manly had scored four tries in their first two games before piling on 10 last night. "We've been close in the first two weeks," Menzies said. "We just weren't able to apply pressure. We knew we weren't far off. We were pretty good tonight but there is still room for improvement." Stewart was electrifying at fullback, the bloke once again displaying his striking speed. Underrated by many outside of Sydney's northern beaches, Robertson impressed again, scoring three and nearly crossing for four. Orford's kicking game was also superb. New Zealand coach Ivan Cleary was left dumbfounded at the result. He started the post-match media conference by saying: "Let's make this quick." He added: "That (game) has got to be struck off. I didn't see it coming. "There was no reason for it. I've never been involved in anything like it before. It's hard to explain. "It's very disappointing for everyone in the club. But I have a lot of faith in the team and we will make up for it next week." Manly play South Sydney, still to win a game, next Sunday afternoon at Brookvale. MANLY 52 (M Robertson 3, B Stewart 3, A Watmough 2, M Orford, M Bani tries; M Orford 6 goals) NZ WARRIORS 6 (L Hohaia try; M Witt goal) at Brookvale Oval. Referee: S Hampstead. Crowd: 10,175.