In a massive blow to the resurgent Manly side, Stewart have his operation on Friday after copping a knock to the knee in the 2nd half of last weeks victory over the Bunnies.
Initial reports suggested the Stewart injury wasn’t that bad, but follow up examinations have shown the problem was virtually identical to the one he suffered in 2007 which required surgery.
The loss of Stewart should see Manly drift heavily in the season betting, he is obviously a vital component to their side and they will struggle for points and confidence without him.
Many forget that not only does Stewart score a bag of points most matches, but he saves a stack of tries with his strong reading of the play and speed of foot at the back.
It also throws open the NSW fullback position, with NZ Warriors Wade McKinnon surely firming as a ready made replacement, with speed, skill and toughness to burn. The firey McKinnon would be an ideal fit for the Origin arena, possessing the passion needed to step it up.
That same passion continues to see Michael Ennis firm as the NSW Origin hooker over Robbie Farah, while Farah has been the ready made replacement for Danny Buderus for a long time – Ennis has burst into contention with his ‘made for Origin’ style temprament and form that has him right up there.