Bulldogs fans jeer silvertails - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs fans jeer silvertails

By David Beniuk 14/03/2009 10:00:30 PM Comments (0)

Premiers Manly received a frosty reception from Bulldogs supporters at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night in the Sea Eagles' first game since the charging of star fullback Brett Stewart with sexual assault.

After Manly had virtually earned the right to be regarded as "Sydney's team" in last year's grand final against Melbourne, their return to the scene of that 40-0 triumph was more reminiscent of their journeys to "fibros" Western Suburbs' Lidcombe Oval in the 1970s.

Manly supporters' reluctance to travel far from the peninsula meant the silvertails had few friends among the Bulldogs' battlers at the cavernous Olympic arena.

The hostilities had begun during the warm-up when Sydney's traditional team to hate were booed as they took to the turf.

They copped another spray as they disappeared into the tunnel in the ground's north-western corner after the warm-up, and then every big tackle on a Sea Eagle was greeted with a monstrous cheer from a healthy first round crowd.

That soon turned to outright glee as the Dogs ran up a 22-0 halftime lead and winger Hazem El Masri became the premiership's all-time greatest point-scorer.

A nasty reception had been expected from the Bulldogs supporters after they endured allegations that six of their players had sexually assaulted a woman in Coffs Harbour during the pre-season of 2004.

Then, Bulldogs players complained of abusive phone calls and taunts of "rapists", but police found there was insufficient evidence to lay any charges.

Stewart did not attend Manly's season opener, reportedly in hiding amidst the massive publicity the allegations against him have generated.

His older brother, forward Glenn, played against the Bulldogs.

Brett Stewart, 24, was charged with the alleged sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl on Tuesday following an incident after the Sea Eagles' boozy season launch the Friday before.

He will appear in court on April 7.

The NRL suspended Stewart for four matches for his actions at the season launch.

The league also fined Manly $100,000 for failing to uphold the game's image at the launch, during which forward Anthony Watmough was also involved in an altercation with a club sponsor after reportedly calling his 21-year-old daughter a "slut".

The Test forward is expected to be fined by the club for his behaviour.

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