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Manly could lose more than just Glenn Stewart, warns Steve Matai

Date

Adrian Proszenko

First of many?: Could Glenn Stewart be on his way out of Brookvale.

First of many?: Could Glenn Stewart be on his way out of Brookvale. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Manly veteran Steve Matai has warned that if Glenn Stewart leaves the club, other stars are likely to follow.

Sea Eagles officials met with Stewart's management on Tuesday in an attempt to nut out a deal that will allow him to finish his career at Brookvale.

The issue is an emotive one for the senior playing group, who have stuck together to enjoy an incredible record of making the playoffs, which has culminated in two premierships.

The grand finalists have little room under the salary cap to move and there are other players also off contract, most notably Peter Hiku, who has firm offers from Canterbury and another NRL club.

Matai believes if Stewart goes, others will do likewise.

"Definitely, if Glenn goes there will be a few players who will reconsider re-signing," Matai said.

"I hope it comes to a head in the next couple of days, I'm quite shocked it's taken this long.

"He built the culture with a lot of us; we've been together for 10 years and we've built this culture as a club. To see it almost go if Glenn goes is sort of sad, it would take away everything we've built."

Asked if the players had considered taking a pay cut to accommodate Stewart, the New Zealand international said: "We haven't spoken about that or contracts, we just know it's taken so long. I'm sure Glenn is disappointed the club hasn't sorted it out sooner rather than later.

"We've all taken pay cuts on the last few contracts to stick and play together, what more [can you do]. I hope the club sorts it out soon.

"It's hard because [management] don't see what goes on inside the club. We're quite a tight group of players here and I think they only see us as a number but don't actually know what sort of effect Glenn and the older players have on the club.

"If they take that into consideration they would have sorted it out a long time ago."

Hiku has done a good job filling in for Stewart's brother Brett, who could make his return from injury in Sunday's clash with Wests Tigers.

Brett Stewart trained strongly with the team on Tuesday but wasn't named in the side the club announced afterwards.

Sea Eagles officials will meet with Hiku's management on Wednesday in the hope of also extending his contract.

The conundrum for Hiku is that Stewart will always be the preferred fullback while they are both at Manly, where he would like to stay. However, a club like Canterbury – in desperate need of a replacement for Ben Barba – would give him the opportunity to nail the No.1 position long term.

"I'd really like to get it out of the way and just concentrate on footy," Hiku said.

"It's nice to hear other clubs want me, but it all comes to the option where you play your best footy.

"It would be good to stay. I'd like to get another contract here. I'll focus on this year and see what I can get for next year."

4 comments so far

  • 'Finals' not 'Playoffs' please Adrian. This is Australia, not the USA.

    Commenter
    CL
    Date and time
    April 02, 2014, 7:09AM
    • It is wonderful that the team has taken pay cuts in the past, but for Steve to say up to 6 may go if contract agreement not sorted out is mad, does he think if 6 players leave they will all be taken up by the same club so they can stick together? Not a chance

      Commenter
      Spudlet
      Location
      Manly
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 8:14AM
      • Perhaps Sea Eagles officials have looked at a roster that is ageing in parts and have decided that renewal with younger players needs to start soon if they are to maintain their long history of on-field success.

        Commenter
        Albert Ross
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        April 02, 2014, 5:31PM
        • Hiku sounds like a very sensible young bloke and I'm sure he's quite genuine about wanting to stay at Manly but I have a feeling he'll end up taking the wads of cash Canterbury are almost certain to throw at him. Hiku knows he will almost certainly be playing first grade at the Dogs under a pretty good coach in Des Hasler and he also knows he will never be first choice fullback at Manly whist Brett Stewart is playing

          Commenter
          curaeus
          Date and time
          April 02, 2014, 6:42PM

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