The last two years have been particularly tough on both him, and his body, but Manly fullback Brett Stewart has played the game of his life, as he scored a hat-trick , as the Raiders were simply outclassed by the Sea Eagles.
The match, being played at Brookvale Oval in atrocious conditions, continued Manly’s good form, as they simply proved too good for the Raiders, whose season seems to be going from bad, to worse.
In another milestone for Stewart, he broke the 100 mark for tries scored for Manly with his second, and now, he only trails Bob Fulton and Steve Menzies for the highest try-scorer in Manly history.
Whilst he may have been prevented from talking to the media post-match, Stewart did give a brief interview on the field, and was full of praise for those that stood by his side during the tough periods.
“It’s been a long time coming, Hop (Will Hopoate) was pretty generous passing those two balls when he could have scored himself. At halftime I was moved to the right wing but thankfully I got two tries there,” Stewart said.
“I’d like to thank the fans for the support they’ve given me over the past couple of years. I just love playing here for obvious reasons.”
Manly coach Des Hasler, said that he believes Stewart is one of the best fullbacks that he has seen throughout his coaching career.
“He’s probably in that select group isn’t he, he just has natural speed and he knows how to use it and it was fairly effective tonight,” he said.
For the Raiders, they were not helped by the fact that star fullback, Josh Dugan, was a late withdrawal due to an armpit infection, paving the way for young Nathan Massey to make his first-grade debut.
With an away trip to Melbourne looming next week, the Raiders are unsure as to just whereabouts they can go to now, after losing their 8th straight game.
“I thought at times we probably came up with some ill-discipline, giving a good side like Manly that sort of possession,” Furner said.
“We’ll just have to look at what troops we’ve got coming back (David Shillington and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs out for extended periods) … I’m hoping (Dugan will be right).”
Dally M Points
3 Brett Stewart
2 Kieran Foran
1 George Rose