Stewart scores century of NRL tries - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stewart scores century of NRL tries

Ben Horne 09/05/2011 10:23:16 PM Comments (0)

After the two most tumultuous years of his life, Manly star Brett Stewart got back to doing what he does best in the Sea Eagles' 20-0 win over Canberra at Brookvale Oval on Monday night.

After sitting on 98 career tries for an agonising 611 days, the prince of Brookvale resumed his hunt to go down as one of the most prolific scorers of all time by crossing three times in the wet to surpass a century of four-pointers.

Stewart was on track to become one of the most prolific try-scorers of all time before injury and legal battles wiped out his past two seasons.

The man synonymous with keeping the scoreboard ticking at Manly had barely been on the park let alone over the line in two seasons - his last try came in round 26 of 2009 against the Gold Coast.

But after returning from a hamstring injury which had kept him out for the past five weeks, Stewart finally ended the pause to his record-breaking ways in emphatic style to carry Manly back into the NRL top four.

His stunning hat-trick was the sixth of his career and his strike rate now stands at 101 tries in 122 NRL matches.

At fortress Brookvale, Stewart's record is almost back to a try a game - with 55 in 56 matches at the venue.

Stewart trails Steve Menzies (151) and Bob Fulton (129) on the Sea Eagles' list of all time try scorers.

In atrocious conditions, Stewart broke through for his 99th off an inside pass from Kieran Foran in the 23rd minute.

After appearing to pick up an injury in the first half Stewart was shifted out to the right wing, but instead of keeping him further away from the ball on a wet night - the Steeden found him.

A crisp backline movement saw him crash over to bring up the ton in the 46th minute, and when he dived over inside the corner post for his 101st with 15 minutes left - he leapt into the air and raised his right arm in triumph.

After two years of turmoil as he fought to clear his name over sexual assault allegations, and just as long out battling serious knee injuries, it represented Stewart's long-awaited return to the top of his game.

It was the first time since round 6 2007 that the Raiders had been kept scoreless - despite enjoying the better of field position in the first half.

Stewart was prevented from speaking to the media post-match but said in an on-field interview that he was grateful for the support given to him by the Manly faithful.

"It's been a long time coming, Hop (Will Hopoate) was pretty generous passing those two balls when he could have scored himself. At halftime I was moved to the right wing but thankfully I got two tries there," Stewart said.

"I'd like to thank the fans for the support they've given me over the past couple of years. I just love playing here for obvious reasons."

Manly coach Des Hasler rated Stewart, who is still experiencing tightness with his hamstrings, as one of the best fullbacks he's seen.

"He's probably in that select group isn't he, he just has natural speed and he knows how to use it and it was fairly effective tonight," he said.

Canberra fullback Josh Dugan was a late scratching due to an armpit infection, with Toyota Cup star Nathan Massey given the call from coach David Furner while on board the under 20s bus.

The Raiders admit they're unsure where to go after a club-equalling eighth straight loss and with an away trip to Melbourne on the horizon next week.

"I thought at times we probably came up with some ill-discipline, giving a good side like Manly that sort of possession," Furner said.

"We'll just have to look at what troops we've got coming back (David Shillington and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs out for extended periods) ... I'm hoping (Dugan will be right)."

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