Champion fullback Brett Stewart is a free agent and prepared to quit the Manly Sea Eagles for the highest bidder.
No one has taken the news of coach Des Hasler’s departure harder than the record tryscorer. After Hasler was stood down by the Manly board on Wednesday, Stewart was the first player to visit him at his northern beaches home.
“They have an incredibly strong bond and he is extremely disappointed Des is gone,” Stewart’s agent George Mimis said.
“Des was as big an influence as his family during a very difficult period in his life and he’ll never forget that.”
The Manly board has rubbished talk Stewart has a get-out clause, but The Sunday Telegraph has information that suggests otherwise.
A reliable source told me: “Brett’s legal case cost him $350,000 so money’s going to be important in his next deal.
“He’s free to go now because of the clause or he’s up at end of next season anyway. He loves Manly, but I honestly think he’ll go to the highest bidder because he lost so much money clearing his name.”
The St George Illawarra Dragons are one of many clubs who have already made inquiries about Stewart. And they are likely to go after his brother Glenn as well.
But the Bulldogs are favourites because of Brett’s tight relationship with Hasler.