There are fears Glenn Stewart has played his last game for Manly.
Stewart hasn't played since injuring his ankle in the 54-18 demolition of Canberra back in round eight. The initial prognosis was a six-week stint on the sidelines, but complications mean he is unlikely to pull on the Sea Eagles jersey again. The former NSW and Australian back-rower has played just six games this season in what will be his last year at the club before switching to South Sydney.
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While Manly coach Geoff Toovey recently raised hopes of a Brookvale farewell, Stewart is rated no chance of returning for the final home clash against Penrith on Sunday. On the club website, the latest injury update states: "Recovery is continuing as planned, with the lock-forward steadily increasing his training and rehab. His return to the top grade is expected in coming weeks."
However, it is understood the 30-year-old has had several setbacks in his fight to be fit and is at long odds to be back this year.
Even if he made a remarkable recovery, it would be a big call to slot him straight back into the side, given it sits on top of the table at present, he hasn't played since April and starting back-rowers Anthony Watmough, Jamie Buhrer and Tom Symonds have been in reasonable form.
Stewart's acrimonious departure has split the playing group, with some of his senior teammates disappointed powerbrokers didn't table him a contract extension. Instead, the club has moved on some of its young talent by moving to secure off-contract back-rowers Buhrer, Jesse Sene-Lefao and Symonds.
While Stewart may not get his dream farewell, that remains a possibility for Jason King. The Sea Eagles stalwart announced he would retire at the end of the year.
"It's not an easy decision to step away from the game I love," King said. "I've thought a lot about it, discussed it many, many times with my family, and simply feel that it's the right time to hang up the boots at season's end.
"The Sea Eagles are a part of me and will always be. I was even a Belrose Eagle as a young one, so to have had the privilege of playing first-grade football for such a long period of time for my local team makes me incredibly proud."
King is a former Manly captain, a Sea Eagles life member and a former international who has played 235 NRL games during a 14-year career in the top grade. He will finish his law degree at Macquarie University after concluding his footballing commitments.
"The aura that surrounds the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles was built well before my time," he said.
"People like Ken Arthurson, Bob Fulton, Terry Randall, Geoff Toovey and Steve Menzies come to mind. I hope in any small way over the past 14 seasons I have contributed to keeping this aura alive.
"I've got some fantastic memories and there are some stellar highlights over all these years. Obviously winning the 2008 grand final in the way we did, having lost it the year before, is certainly up there. So too the 2011 grand final, despite not being able to be out there on the field with the boys, as well as putting on the Blue jersey of NSW. They all meant a great deal to me and are memories that I will cherish forever."