Stewart becomes Brookie's greatest ever try-scorer
Brett Stewart has overtaken Steve Menzies to become the most prolific try scorer ever at Brookvale Oval, scoring his 78th and 79th tries at the ground as Manly defeated archrivals Melbourne.
In a classy performance featuring his trademark brilliant support play, Stewart benefited from an explosive eight-minute attacking passage from the Sea Eagles to eclipse Menzies and claim the record.
After the game Stewart said he was proud of the achievement, particularly considering the talent that has played at Manly and Brookvale before him.
"Quite proud of the achievement... personally I'm happy with the win first of all but to get a record like that... I've had a few hurdles in my career and to break records like that, like I said I'm pretty proud," he said.
Stewart, a one-club man who debuted against Parramatta in 2003, scored his first in the 30th minute as Daly Cherry-Evans turned the ball back inside to Tom Symonds at the line. Symonds summed up his options quickly and found Stewart in support to finish off the play.
That was the mercurial fullback's 78th try in 86 matches at his home ground; drawing him level with his good mate Menzies.
The crown wasn't shared between try-scoring friends for long though, just eight minutes later Stewart was in again after linking up with Cherry-Evans who had broken the line around the outside of a sliding Storm defence. That score marked Stewart's 79th try and took him ahead of Menzies.
"Beaves (Steve Menzies) is a great mate of mine so it will be good to have a cold one with him a bit later over it," Stewart said.
The 30-year-old custodian received glowing praise from both his captain and coach after his record sealing performance.
"He's going to go down as probably the greatest fullback the club's had," Jamie Lyon said.
"It's a pleasure to play alongside him that's for sure."
Meanwhile, Geoff Toovey was appreciative of Stewart's influence over his teammates in what has been a tumultuous period for the Manly club.
"He will go down as one of the great fullbacks of the club no doubt," Toovey said.
"Very pleasing to have some senior players like them [Stewart and Lyon] around to steer the boys around on the park particularly against such adversity.
"It's a great feature of the club when you can have players like that to lead the others around the football field."
Stewart refused to focus too much on his own accomplishments, instead making a point that the club can now focus on their season ahead on the field after a hard week and a good victory.
"I'm not going to lie, there was a bit of pressure on everyone's shoulders but the win's out of the way now and we can get on with the season," he said.
Stewart and the Sea Eagles will continue that process on Friday night with a big clash against the Bulldogs at Brookie.