Stewart declares Sharks pack best in NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stewart declares Sharks pack best in NRL

Ben Horne 06/04/2011 05:28:23 PM Comments (0)

Manly lock Glenn Stewart believes Cronulla's forward pack deserves to be ranked as the best in the NRL.

The Sea Eagles will travel to Toyota Stadium on Saturday night knowing they have a monster challenge ahead of them if they're to dominate the Sharks' engine room.

Over the years Stewart has played in some Manly packs that could lay serious claim to being the most feared and he said it's clear the Sharks display unmatched strength up front.

Paul Gallen, Jeremy Smith, Kade Snowden, Luke Douglas and Anthony Tupou are the cornerstone of Cronulla's side and are all chances of playing representative football in 2011.

"I think actually the Sharks would have been renowned as the best pack going around and they've got the addition of Jeremy Smith too, so that's only going to add to their side," said Stewart.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge.

"Everyone knows they're well renowned for their pack ... you expect nothing less, we've been pretty physical the past few weeks and we expect the same again."

Stewart hasn't played Origin football since 2009 and concedes a dominant performance against NSW captaincy favourite Gallen would help his chances of making a comeback to the representative arena.

Gallen and Stewart are firm friends, but the 27-year-old Sea Eagles backrower knows he can't afford to give an inch against arguably the NRL's most merciless opponent.

"I think Gal would agree with me, on the field it's no holds barred for Gal, he goes pretty hard. But then as soon as we walk off the field we're back to being mates," he said.

"Gal's a mate of mine but it's always a pretty tough encounter against him. He's a very physical player but across the whole forward pack, they're all pretty big guys and love mixing it up.

"I don't think (a good performance against Gallen) could hurt (Origin chances), but that's in the back of my mind, I'm just concentrating on the Eagles.

"If I can do a good job at the club ... just letthe rest unfold and work out for itself."

The challenge for the Manly forwards has been made tougher by the standing down of Test second rower Anthony Watmough for the match, after he was arrested for urinating on a shop window.

Stewart said Watmough's loss has been countered by the emergence of some quality young players for the Sea Eagles this season.

Stewart said the likes of Jamie Buhrer and Daniel Harrison won't be intimidated by the Sharks forwards.

"It's pretty obvious we're going to miss Anthony but in saying that all the young fellas have been stepping up doing a great job," he said.

"It's actually the younger blokes that have been playing the best for us, so it's us older blokes that need to meet their standards."

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