Banned Sea Eagle Brett Stewart has put the wheels in motion to challenge his suspension by the NRL, sending off a legal notice to David Gallop and the National Rugby League signaling his bold intentions.
The result may be a Supreme Court injunction against his current ban.
Advised by his legal representatives, Stewart agreed to send a detailed document to Gallop and the NRL, showing cause as to why he was stood down as he awaits a court trial on a sexual assault charge.
The move catching Gallop by surprise, with the League boss having initially got the nod from Manly that they wouldn’t take the Stewart ban any further.
However, representative for Brett Stewart, Geoff Bellew said the action taken was nothing to do with Manly.
While Manly’s board initially voted to keep Stewart playing, the NRL stepping prior to Round 1 of the season – blocking Stewart until April 7.
The NRL said it’s course of action taken was purely based around a rule that insists all current players must be sober and polite while in public or attending official functions.
The standpoint from Gallop and the NRL was around Stewarts excessive drink and eventual refusal of service from the Manly bar during his sides season launch. The move ensuring the player would be banned, but also avoiding any legal action against the National Rugby League.
But what the NRL didn’t count on was quick fire offences from Rooster Jake Friend and Cronulla’s Brett Seymour; their incidents immediately put pressure on the sports governing body to apply the same rule as they did for Stewart.
Bellew wouldn’t devulge the detail of their case, however Stewart’s say they have multiple reasons on why they can overturn his suspension.
They believe Stewart was treated more harshly because of his standing in the game, and not what happened at the Manly bar – but rather what is alleged to have happened later that evening.
If Stewart and his legal team follow-through; it could see the case go to the NRL Appeals Tribunal or possibly a Supreme Court grant an injunction which would get him back on the Rugby League field.
Gallop said: “It’s confusing to have received this letter given that Manly indicated he would not be making any submissions,” Gallop said.
“While I can’t go into the contents of the letter, we will be responding.”