Writing on the wall for Stewart

Brett Stewart has looked a lost soul at his beloved Manly in 2016.  Age and injuries have no doubt caught up with the man they call Snake. Stewart wasleft out from Manly’s 36-6 whipping of the Dragons last Monday with a knee injury. Now consigned to the sideline for the rest of the season it will leave the fullback with plenty of thinking time heading into 2017.  A penny for his thoughts last Monday night at Brookvale as Manly produced arguably their best performance of the season with potential young super star Tom Trbojevic moved to fullback to ignite their faltering attack.
Stewart has been one of the best at being able to sniff out a try throughout his career particularly on his beloved Brookvale turf. His football instincts and turn of foot making for a lethal combination over the years. However in 2016 his performances could best be described as passive, at worst listless. With his run metres well down, his turn of foot no longer there and his over influence waning, his time at Manly appears close to an end.
Stewart has had a glittering career at Manly playing a leading role in the club’s 2008 and 2011 Premiership winning sides. He played in an era when Manly thrived on restoring their famous siege mentality. With the turbulent days of the failed Northern Eagles experiment behind them, Manly went back to what they knew best. Being hated. They thrived on that, and they created a culture that was the envy of most, and respected by all.
People like Des Hasler, Geoff Toovey, Anthony Watmough, Steve Matai, Jaimie Lyon and Kieran Foran along with the Stewart brothers formed the nucleus of a tough and uncompromising footy club for the better part of the last decade. Whilst Manly could blow you away with their skill, they were also respected greatly for their physicality and resilience on and off the field.
Many of these highly influential Manly stars have either moved on or are in the twilight. The bitter departure of Brett's brother Glen and Anthony Watmough would have hurt. The last rights to this old Manly culture were handed down when Geoff Toovey was axed unceremoniously for new rookie coach Trent Barrett. Barrett along with his list of high profile recruits have to date struggled to create that same mentality that Manly thrived on for years.  As for Stewart, he looks like he would rather be anywhere else.