Manly not relying on Stewart as saviour - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly not relying on Stewart as saviour

By Todd Balym 07/04/2009 05:48:19 PM Comments (0)

Manly captain Matt Orford says it's going to take more than the return of star fullback Brett Stewart to pull the premiers out of their early season rut.

Stewart was on Tuesday named to play his first game of 2009 against the Wests Tigers at Brookvale Oval on Sunday after missing four weeks for an NRL imposed suspension for breaching its code of conduct.

The Test and NSW fullback was the competition's leading tryscorer in 2008 and while Orford says Stewart's return will boost the confidence within the squad, ultimately the entire team has to lift if they're to save their season.

"We're not expecting at all for Snake (Stewart) to go out and score four tries and be a match-winner," said Orford.

"It's his first game since the World Club Challenge, he has got to find his feet and get a bit of match fitness.

"He is definitely an important part in what we do in attack. He reads the game and pops up all over the shop. When we make line-breaks he is usually the one who finishes it off.

"He is going to be a huge confidence booster, but I'm not going to put any pressure on him whatsoever.

"It's not all on his shoulders. We have to roll the sleeves up, get dirty and get into footy.

"He is one of the top fullbacks in the game, if not the best. In my game he is definitely going to help me out and I will love having him back."

Coach Des Hasler said Stewart would not be the "saviour" for Manly and he remained confident the club could fight their way out of the doldrums and challenge for the top four this year.

Based on last year's final standings Manly would have to win 15 of their 20 remaining games to reach the top four.

"He is not the saviour, there are 16 other players partaking in the game as well," said Hasler.

"He's one of the best fullbacks in the world, he's going to be a real advantage for us coming back."

"We know what we have to do and that is as simple as that.

"We cannot excuse what we have done. But this side is trying hard and we will turn it around - simple as that.

"I don't think it's a tough ask for us to get back up there ... the fact that everybody is beating each other helps a bit."

Orford said he had no concerns about Stewart's mental state ahead of his NRL return.

The 24-year-old has pleaded not guilty to offences relating to a 17-year-old girl allegedly committed after a booze-fuelled season launch last month.

He is charged with having sexual intercourse without the consent of the teenager between 7.45pm and 8.05pm on March 6 at North Manly.

Stewart has continued training with the team throughout his suspension and Orford believes his teammate has handled the ordeal well.

"I think Snake has handled it really well," said Orford.

"He has dug down and put his mind in football and that's his job. Everything else will take care of itself.

"He is here to play football and that is where he will be his happiest."

The Sea Eagles have named a full-strength side for Sunday's clash with centres Steve Matai (shoulder) and Jamie Lyon (knee) both included but in doubt with injury.

Orford and winger Michael Robertson also have niggling injury concerns but should be fit to play, while Test winger David Williams (shoulder) has been left out after struggling in his comeback match last Sunday.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news