The importance of Brett Stewart has not been lost on new Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Coach Trent Barrett.
The lethal attacking style of the 222 game veteran full-back has been sorely missed in the opening two rounds of the Telstra Premiership and is fighting to overcome a hamstring strain ahead of Monday night’s clash against Cronulla Sutherland Sharks at Brookvale Oval.
Barrett remains hopeful the ‘Prince of Brookvale’ will take the field.
“It has been touch and go every week now. He is at that age (31) where things do take a little bit longer to heal, ‘’ Barrett said.
“He is desperate to play. If he can get through today and Sunday, hopefully he will be there.
“It will be a huge boost. He is a terrific leader. It’s not just with what he can do with the ball, but his talk.
“Defensively, our tryline defence will improve dramatically with Brett in the team and that’s just because of his talk and his leadership.
“It was pretty obvious early in the piece (when I first arrived) that when Brett trained, training was a hell of a lot better.
“The intensity of it on the back of his leadership, his talk, his timing out the back.
“He is what Billy Slater and Cameron Smith are to Melbourne. He is that important to us.”
New team-mate Lewis Brown said it would be a ‘massive inclusion’ should the name B. Stewart appear on the final team list.
“(Snake) is one of the stars of our club. He has been at this club for a long time and is one of the main reasons why they have had so much success,’’ Brown said.
“He is working pretty closely with the medical staff and he will be ticking every box to make sure he is right for Monday night.”