Manly 27 Warriors 12

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Glenn Stewart inspires Manly to victory over the Warriors

Glenn Stewart has returned to form in a timely fashion in the Sea Eagles' victory over the Warriors on Sunday.

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As it happened / Match stats

The last time Glenn Stewart approached a match against South Sydney, he was returning to his side after a knee injury; unfit and unsure about what lay ahead. After ripping through the Warriors at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday, Stewart will face the Rabbitohs on Friday night – at the same ground – in much better shape.

Stewart's return to form somewhat cancelled out the loss for about two matches of his fellow back-rower Anthony Watmough, who hyperextended his knee in the first half against the Warriors.

Back on song: Glenn Stewart of the Sea Eagles.

Back on song: Glenn Stewart of the Sea Eagles. Photo: Getty Images

Time
80.00
Team
MAN
Score
27
Team
NZW
Score
12
Manly versus Warriors
View Match Statistics
Players Stewart(2), Williams(3) Tries 5 Tries 2 Players Laumape, Johnson
Players Lyon 2/5 (40%) Conversions 2 Conversions 2 Players Johnson 2/2 (100%)
Players Lyon 1/1 (100%) Penalty goals 1 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Cherry-Evans 1/1 (100%) Field goals 1 Field goals 0 Players

Stewart's knee is not an issue any longer. Neither perhaps is any concern over his form. Having missed the first six rounds this year – returning in round seven against Souths – he has taken time to recapture some of the play he is capable of, but he provided the final pass, tap-on or kick for four of Manly's five tries against the Warriors, while having a hand in the fifth and last.

''I was a bit underdone back then [against Souths],'' Stewart said. ''We've lost Choc, but a lot of the other forwards are starting to pull their weight, and I think we'll give them a good show next week.''

While the Rabbitohs have lost three from four, the Sea Eagles' victory over the Warriors gave them six wins consecutively. And they have a point to prove on Friday night: they have not beaten any of their fellow top-four teams – Melbourne, Souths or Sydney Roosters. Their best result was a 10-10 draw against Melbourne in round 10.

Worrying signs: Anthony Watmough hobbles off injured for the Sea Eagles.

Worrying signs: Anthony Watmough hobbles off injured for the Sea Eagles. Photo: Getty Images

But they do have Stewart in much better form now. He and his brother were superb against the Warriors; fullback Brett scored two tries, while winger David Williams posted a hat-trick.

''I was certainly off the pace for a good six weeks, eight weeks, but now, at the right end of the year, I'm starting to feel better,'' Glenn Stewart said. ''And probably more mentally fresh than some of the other boys. I don't think I'm fully [match-fit], but I'm a lot further along than where I was when I came back. I can only get better. How long have we got to go? Four weeks? Another four [weeks] and I should be fully match fit.

''I'm getting there. I felt like I was getting somewhere near there the last couple of weeks, but little parts of my game had to improve.''
Manly coach Geoff Toovey was also confident that Stewart's best this year was still to come.

Can't touch this: Brett Stewart was instrumental for the Sea Eagles in their win over the Warriors.

Can't touch this: Brett Stewart was instrumental for the Sea Eagles in their win over the Warriors. Photo: Getty Images

''I wouldn't say that [he's back to his best], but he's definitely getting there,'' Toovey said. ''It's a fair recovery from where he was at the beginning of the year, with his injury. He's getting better and better. Hopefully that'll continue.''

Watmough, meanwhile, was hurt after 15 minutes, played on but then went down again just before the half-hour mark. He struggled to get to his feet to play the ball, limped around again, attempted to make a tackle, before finally leaving the field.

He was still limping noticeably out of Bluetongue Stadium after the match, with early estimates suggesting he would miss two matches.
''I think he'll miss at least a week, but I can't comment until the doctor has a further look at it,'' Toovey said.

The Warriors will almost certainly need to win their last four matches to have any hope of making the finals. ''Our job is about next week,'' coach Matthew Elliott said. ''The formula is easy, really ... it's one I feel pretty comfortable that this footy team is capable of doing.''

MANLY 27 (D Williams 3 B Stewart 2 tries J Lyon 3 goals D Cherry-Evans field goal) bt WARRIORS 12 (S Johnson N Laumape tries S Johnson 2 goals) at Bluetongue Stadium. Referee: Jared Maxwell, Brett Suttor. Crowd: 12,090.