Former Sea Eagle Brent Kite returned from injury to play just his second game for Penrith this year. Copyright: NRL Photos/Robb Cox.

Kite empathy for Stewart's Manly plight

With the Glenn Stewart contract drama almost reaching player revolt status on the northern beaches, it's made a certain ex-Sea Eagle - now at the foot of the mountains - feel a little left out.

"Steve Matai was my roommate - where was he on that one, [the] dips..t?" former Manly prop Brent Kite jokingly asks.

It's all fun and games now but it wasn't so around this time last year when, after almost a decade in the maroon-and-white, dual Manly premiership winner Kite was asked to move on from the club.

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In hindsight, the 33-year-old front-rower appreciated the early message. Now he wants Manly bosses to afford the same luxury to Glenn.

"It'd be great for him to stay but it just looks likes it's becoming increasingly hard for him," Kite said.

"I'd like to see him stay and finish out his career with his brother."

Stewart's manager Mike Newton was reportedly set to have a final meeting with the Manly hierarchy to discuss keeping the long-time Manly servant or risk losing him to a rival club. As of late last week, no offer had been tabled.

Kite said that given Stewart's contribution to the club since debuting in 2003, he should given the opportunity to sort out his long-term future – whether it be at Brookvale or not.

"It is a distraction. In my situation, I was able to get on top of it early," he said.

"I knew I was leaving but I still wanted one more big year with the guys, and I thought I was able to do that. I was fairly happy with my form and I was really happy with the team's form. Either way, it's the not knowing that can be a bit of a pain sometimes."

Kite was a solid and stable performer in Manly's run to the grand final, and said it would've been difficult for him to achieve that had he not immediately negotiated a deal with the Panthers early in the season. He expressed sympathy for the 30-year-old Stewart, who would be denied a chance to finish as a one-club man.

"It's hard because he'll feel - as I did - that you had a lot to do with the club and a lot to do with the success of a club. Maybe not a lot but you've played your part," he said.

"We pride ourselves that we all chipped in. We didn't have one or two standout players, we had this group that were so close and we just got things done.

"To be unsure about your future is never nice but I'm hoping they can just give him an indication either way of what he needs to do, because you don't want it hanging over your head."

After suffering a calf injury in the opening round of the season, Kite returned for the Panthers in their loss to the Rabbitohs last Friday and said that despite the defeat, exciting times were ahead.

"We're going OK. I've been impressed with the effort, week in and week out," he said.

"The effort's been there. Even in our losses, it hasn't gotten ugly. Even on the weekend, I thought we were right in it.

"But we've got some improvement in us I'm sure. I suppose that's exciting more than anything, because we're mixing form but I know we can improve pretty dramatically."