Under pressure Manly Sea Eagles star Brett Stewart is set to come under the microscope not only by the NRL but also by hardcore Bulldogs fans who have promised him plenty of heckling in this weeks opener between Manly and Canterbury.
While Stewart was charged late yesterday over allegations of sexual assault, the Manly Sea Eagles club have continually stood by their player and have insisted they will continue to select and play the talented fullback in their first grade line-up until a final verdict is handed down.
The National Rugby League are apparently frustrated that Manly are continuing to keep Brett Stewart in their line-up, while these are only allegations at this stage – it seems privately the NRL want Brett Stewart stood down until the matter is resolved officially.
But it seems the focus on Stewart and Manly Sea Eagles is not only coming from the NRL, but also at the lions den that will be ANZ Stadium this weekend with hardcore Bulldogs fans promising they too will give Stewart and the Sea Eagles a horrifc time at this weekends match. The Bulldogs, who several years ago were subject of a sexual assault allegation and investigation – felt the wrath of rival fans and copped plenty during that trying time.
Bulldogs fans have said they want to return the favour to Manly and will be giving fullback Stewart plenty of pain when they come up against him.
The Canterbury fans who will be attending ANZ Stadium seem to view this an an opportunity to exact some revenge. A worrying sign, considering the player is only subject to allegations at this stage –
Comments and forum talk on the popular website ‘The Kennel’ were alarming:
Dogg Stiel said: “I’m going to act like an animal on Saturday night … after getting the wooden spoon and years of frustration from the media, I’m going to let out my frustrations.”
Top dawg added: “We’ve copped it for the past six years … payback is a bitch.”
Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg issued an urgent plea for his club’s fans to spare Stewart from the vile abuse their players copped five years ago.
The prospect of fans abusing Stewart – who has denied the allegations – with unsavoury and foul remarks has been foreshadowed by ANZ Stadium officials. It was discussed atÂ Tuesday’s pre-game briefing with Greenberg and extra security is being considered to monitor what is expected to be a 20,000-plus crowd.
It is expected security will be beefed up accordingly and excessive behaviour will not be tolerated by Stadium and Club officials monitoring the game.