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Manly Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart linked to Canberra Raiders

Capital target ... Manly fullback Brett Stewart

Capital target ... Manly fullback Brett Stewart Photo: Anthony Johnson

Disgruntled Manly fullback Brett Stewart has been linked with a move to Canberra, but Warriors officials insist they are not pursuing Sea Eagles centre Steve Matai.

Stewart, Matai and Anthony Watmough have all reportedly requested releases from the remainder of their contracts with Manly after becoming disillusioned with the club's failure to table an offer for back-rower Glenn Stewart before he signed to join South Sydney next season.

While Matai has said he had an offer from the Warriors, it has been unclear which clubs were interested in Brett Stewart and Watmough but Fairfax Media has been told by separate sources close to the Sea Eagles and Raiders that Canberra was ready to make a play for Stewart if he became available.

The Raiders are also believed to have signed former Sydney Roosters utility Iosia Soliola from St Helens and Hull KR hooker Josh Hodgson but are desperate for a quality fullback to replace Brisbane-bound star Anthony Milford, and coach Ricky Stewart has a relationship with Stewart from his time in charge of the NSW Origin team.

A Manly board meeting last Wednesday night resolved not to release any player, although Fairfax Media has been told some at the club are becoming so fed up by the antics of the trio they would be happy for them to go.

However, the Warriors say they are no longer interested in Matai after being strongly linked to a four-year $650,000 per season offer for the 27-year-old former New Zealand Test centre.

It is believed the Warriors were approached three months ago and advised Matai that they would be interested if he wasn't under contract to Manly.

Since then, the Warriors have signed Canberra centre Matt Allwood and extended the contract of Konrad Hurrell, while NSW Origin forward Ryan Hoffman has also been recruited from Melbourne.

"The bottom line is that we are not chasing Steve at all," Warriors coach Andrew McFadden told New Zealand's Radio Sport.

"Earlier in the season when we were looking at all of our centre options, Steve was linked to us back then but since then we have signed Matt Allwood from Canberra and our current centres Ngani Laumape, Dane Neilsen and Konrad Hurrell are doing a good job."

Asked if Matai would be at the Warriors next season, McFadden said: "No, he won't be."

It is understood the Warriors were advised that Matai was unable to secure a release from Manly and thought that was the end of the matter, but the hard-running centre told Triple M after Monday night's match against St George Illawarra that he still wanted out next season.  

As reported by Fairfax Media on Friday, the Sea Eagles want to extend the contracts of Matai and Watmough beyond the end of their current deals, which expire at the end of next season.

Watmough, who is on a back-ended deal worth more than $970,000 next season, has been offered a new $1.2 million two-year deal but the 31-year-old wants to be guaranteed a job with the club when he retires.

Brett Stewart has another two years to run on his contract after Manly officials agreed to the four-year deal the 29-year-old fullback wanted when he was off contract at the end of the 2012 season.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey insisted the off-field drama would not be a distraction for the competition leaders as they prepared to travel to Auckland to play the Warriors on Sunday.

"Those issues have been dealt with for the last few months and years gone past and they'll continue to be dealt with," Toovey said. "We've got a very resilient team and we'll continue to play well."

7 comments so far

  • Im a Manly supporter but Watmough makes me laugh, when he is insisting on a job within the club when he retired...AS WHAT MAY I ASK??????????????. Go find your own bloody job.

    Commenter
    Mike
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    July 26, 2014, 8:24AM
    • As a Manly fan, I'd let Stewart go. I can't tolerate sooks. This bloke has given the club good service, but in saying that, the club also paid him for 2 years when he was out injured and fighting court cases! Further to that they rewarded him with a 4 year contract! Let him piss off so I don't have to keep reading about it. We have a good replacement in Gutherson

      Commenter
      CSKN
      Location
      Manly
      Date and time
      July 26, 2014, 4:46PM
      • CSKN - you're may be right, but also as a Manly fan it's hard not to feel a sense of sadness. Manly have been the best NRL side for the past seven years or so (let's park the Storm argument), and it seems like it's coming to an end with Glenn Stewart gone, and a few others seeming to be in the exit lounge.

        Manly have been pretty good in finding new talent over the years (Cherry-Evans and Foran are great examples), but there's some pretty big boots to fill in both Stewarts, Matai, Choc. They've all been pretty selfless in foregoing the really big dollars to keep the team together - hopefully that might continue.

        But if these guys really want out, it seems a little silly if the club stops them. Best not to keep players on the playing list if they don't want to be there. Perhaps a 2014 premiership is just what's needed !

        Commenter
        Hacka
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        July 26, 2014, 5:22PM
      • Gutherson still needs a couple more yrs in NSW Cup to hone his skills a little more before you throw him into the deep end . As far as I am concerned they signed contracts for ex amount of years so they should honor it. As far as no offer made to Gifty well the board must have felt that Glen had given his best years to the club and it was time for him to move on so some younger players could be brought in. Nothing sinister in that the club has to evolve at some stage with fresh talent

        Commenter
        Andrew
        Date and time
        July 26, 2014, 5:29PM
      • @Hacka – Yes it is sad and they would be a big loss. In an ideal world, these players would play out their careers for Manly. But they need to see it from a business perspective. Some of these boys are now on the wrong side of 30 and with a history of injuries. I can’t even tell you the last time Glenn played this year. Manly needs a succession plan and look to the future, and unfortunately these boys ain’t it.

        Commenter
        CSKN
        Location
        Manly
        Date and time
        July 26, 2014, 7:31PM
    • We re-signed Peta Hiku who's a fullback so we have cover for Brett. It would be a pity to see these players leave but life goes on, if they don't want to be there then let them go.

      Commenter
      Brooky Boy
      Date and time
      July 26, 2014, 5:38PM
      • "B. Stewart linked with Canberra", or should the headline read "R. Stewart begging B. Stewart and throwing as much cash as they could". There is no way in the world Brett will leave Toovey for Ricky, career over and legacy over. Ricky has to get some runs (any runs) on the board before he can attract quality players.

        Commenter
        Manly supporter
        Date and time
        July 26, 2014, 6:18PM

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