Brooky return boosts fired-up Stewart - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brooky return boosts fired-up Stewart

By Ian McCullough 22/03/2011 08:03:50 PM Comments (0)

Having spent the best part of two years on the sidelines, Brett Stewart is desperate to return his name to the list of premier fullbacks in the NRL.

The darling of Brookvale will play his first home game since September 2009 against Newcastle on Sunday, and is just two tries shy of reaching the century mark in Manly colours.

The game will mark the end of a two-year nightmare for the 26-year-old, whose brilliant displays helped the Sea Eagles win the premiership in 2008.

That was before his world came crashing down around him, with the NRL imposing a four-match ban following a drunken incident at the club's 2009 season launch.

This led to a high-profile court case where he faced sexual assault charges before a serious knee injury sidelined him for the whole of last season.

Stewart, who has played in Manly's opening two games in 2011, said he cannot wait to run out in front of his adoring fans, admitting he struggled emotionally at times when he was out.

"The injury went from bad to worse, originally it was just a clean out, and went from a one-month injury, to three months to 12 months as it gradually got worse," Stewart said on Tuesday.

"To be honest I really wondered how I was going to cope, my mum came up, and I didn't leave the lounge for a week, that was the most difficult time.

"If I took it day by day it didn't seem to get better, but when I took it week by week I started to see the benefits and started to make some inroads."

Stewart's displays in 2008 were a major factor in the Sea Eagles' premiership success.

He scored 22 tries and played in all three State of Origin matches for NSW, and although he said any talk of a return for the Blues is premature, he has a burning desire to get back to the form that made him one of the best No.1s in the world.

"I'm not eyeing rep footy one bit, my main focus is Manly and winning games for them and if it comes, it comes.

"I'm still confident in my ability, my pace is good and I love playing at Brooky, I seem to score more tries there than anywhere else ... and I really want to get back to where I was."

Stewart said Manly coach Des Hasler had been like a second father to him during his dark days, and no-one is more pleased to see him back than the man who picks the team.

"Brett is one of the crowd favourites, people want to come and watch him play and so they should," Hasler said.

"He has been inundated with support, and that's because he is a very special player and one that is very important to the club and the comp.

"It hasn't surprised me his resilience, knowing his background, his family. It is testimony to the kid and he just wants to get back out there and play and it is great to see him out there."

Hasler also predicted Stewart's best form is not far away after two relatively low-key performances.

"I don't think it will be much longer until we see him back to his best," he said.

"The presence he occupies out there, gives a great boost to the players around him."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 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