Brett Stewart (rugby league)

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Brett Stewart
Brett Stewart.jpg
Personal information
Born (1985-02-27) 27 February 1985 (age 33)
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Playing information
Height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 86 kg (13 st 8 lb)
Position Fullback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2003–16 Manly Sea Eagles 233 163 0 0 652
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2005 Prime Minister's XIII 1 1 0 0 4
2007 NSW Country 1 0 0 0 0
2007–12 New South Wales 8 5 0 0 20
2007 Australia 1 1 0 0 4
Source: [1][2]

Brett Stewart (born 27 February 1985) is a former professional rugby league footballer who played for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the National Rugby League. An Australian international and New South Wales State of Origin representative fullback, he played his entire NRL career for the Sea Eagles, with whom he won the 2008 and 2011 Premierships.

Background[edit]

Stewart was born and raised in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

Playing career[edit]

Brett and his older brother Glenn Stewart played their junior football for the Western Suburbs Red Devils, the same Illawarra Rugby League club that produced Manly-Warringah legend and rugby league Immortal Bob Fulton.

2000s[edit]

Brett Stewart made his NRL début for the Sea Eagles on 6 July 2003 in Round 17 of the 2003 NRL season as a replacement for injured fullback Brendon Reeves.[citation needed] In his only first grade game of the season, Manly were defeated 24-16 by the Parramatta Eels at Brookvale Oval.

After playing from the bench in a 30-22 loss to the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval in Round 7 of the 2004 NRL season, rookie coach and dual Manly premiership player Des Hasler moved former dual international Andrew Walker from fullback to five-eighth to bring Stewart in as the Sea Eagles fullback in Round 9 against the St. George Illawarra Dragons at Brookvale Oval.

Stewart was second on the top try scorer list with 21 tries for the 2006 NRL season, one behind the South Sydney Rabbitohs' winger Nathan Merritt. In his first representative match playing for the Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea, he contributed to Australia's 28–8 win with a try. He made his State of Origin debut in Game 2 of the 2007 series, replacing an injured Anthony Minichiello at the last moment, and scored a try. Stewart played in the 2007 NRL Grand Final for Manly against the Melbourne Storm, but he was knocked out while contesting a bomb in the early minutes of the 2nd half by Storm forward Michael Crocker.[citation needed] Despite this, Stewart was selected as fullback for Australia's end of season test against New Zealand in Wellington, contributing with a try in Australia's record 58–0 victory over the Kiwis.

Stewart playing for the Sea Eagles in 2008

After being overlooked for the Centenary Test against the Kiwis at the Sydney Cricket Ground in favour of Storm and Queensland fullback Billy Slater, and again representing NSW in the 2008 State of Origin series, Stewart was one of the form players for Manly in their run to the 2008 NRL Grand Final, and was the NRL's leading try scorer of the season with 22 tries from 24 appearances. In the Grand Final, Manly faced their nemesis Melbourne for the second year running. 2008 would be very different however as the Sea Eagles recorded the largest ever GF win when they vanquished Melbourne 40-0. While Stewart himself did not cross for a try in the GF, he provided the last pass on a couple of occasions for teammates to score, including the last try of the game for departing Centre Steven Bell.[4]

In August 2008, Stewart was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup,[5][6] and in October 2008 he was selected in the final 24-man Australia squad alongside other Manly players Brent Kite, Josh Perry, Anthony Watmough, David Williams, and his brother Glenn.[7] Unfortunately however, Stewart was forced to withdraw with a shoulder injury before the competition had begun.[8]

Stewart travelled with the Sea Eagles to England to face the Super League champions Leeds for the 2009 World Club Challenge at the Elland Road stadium in Leeds. Manly showed their class with a 28-20 win over the Rhinos, with both Stewart and Anthony Watmough crossing for two tries.[citation needed] In the lead-up to the WCC, Manly became the first Australian side travelling to England to actually play a warm-up game, defeating the Harlequins RL at The Stoop in London, winning 34-26.

Stewart featured in the NRL's 2009 television advertising campaign, alongside Storm player Greg Inglis as the "faces of rugby league".[9] The campaign was launched in The Domain with Stewart declaring the start of the 101st season of rugby league in Australia.[10]

Legal issues then saw Stewart suspended from the opening four rounds of the 2009 NRL season. Without Stewart at fullback, Manly opened their premiership defense with four straight losses. The rot stopped when Stewart returned in Round 5 against the Tigers at Brookvale, scoring 3 tries as Manly won 23-10. He scored another two at Brookvale the next week against South Sydney before a knee injury forced him to miss the next 19 games. He made his return in Round 25 against Cronulla.[citation needed]

Recurring injuries forced Stewart to retire in the pre-season of 2017, finishing his career as the 6th highest try scorer in NRL history.

Suspensions[edit]

Stewart was charged with sexual assault on 10 March 2009. The NRL said it was "making no judgement" and announced it would suspend the 2009 commercial which featured Stewart until further information became available.[11] Despite the Manly board's decision to select Stewart for round one of the 2009 season, the NRL on 11 March suspended Stewart for the first four rounds for drunkenness,[12] reportedly stating that "its decision to stop Stewart playing was not intended to reflect any judgment regarding the police investigation into the alleged assault."[13]

Career highlights[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Stewart is the younger brother of former Manly Sea Eagles and now retired player Glenn Stewart. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14 and is active in promoting diabetes awareness in children and how people who have it can still lead an active life.[15]

Following his injury forced retirement from playing in 2016 (though he is still a contracted Manly player in 2017), Stewart divides his time between his home in Sydney and the Toko Japanese restaurant (of which he is a part owner) in Melbourne.[16]

Sexual assault charges[edit]

He was accused of assaulting a 17-year-old girl following the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles' season launch on 6 March 2009.[17][18] Stewart denied the allegation and was granted bail to appear in Manly Local Court on 7 April.[17][19]

Stewart was charged with sexual assault on 10 March 2009. On 7 April 2009, Stewart entered a plea of not guilty to the charges at Manly Local Court and the matter was adjourned until 26 May,[20] on which date Stewart's case was again mentioned in court, although Stewart was not present. The case was further adjourned to 23 June as his lawyer stated that he was still waiting on documents.[21]

When the court reconvened on 23 June 2009, his lawyers requested access to further documents, including psychiatric evaluations, and the matter was adjourned until September.[22] The court met once again on 28 September, and there they found that Stewart had a case to answer. As a result, he was ordered to attend a committal hearing in February 2010.[23]

The committal hearing commenced on 4 February 2010, at Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court. Stewart was represented by Clive Steirn, with Deputy Chief Magistrate Paul Cloran presiding.[24][25] He was accompanied by a number of supporters, including his girlfriend Jamie Baker, family members, and Manly coach Des Hasler. His charges are sexual intercourse without consent, involving digital penetration, and assault with an act of indecency.[26][27]

Stewart continued to strongly deny the allegations, with the hearing temporarily adjourned for one hour while Cloran read evidential documentation. The tendered documentation included medical evidence, psychiatric reports, and statements from the alleged victim and her family.[25] The alleged victim’s former psychiatrist gave evidence for the hearing, these details were suppressed by Cloran.[28]

The hearing was adjourned until 22 March 2010, in order for the alleged victim’s father to give evidence, as he was overseas.[29]

Acquittal[edit]

On 22 March 2010, Deputy Chief Magistrate Paul Cloran determined that there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.[30] His trial commenced on Monday 13 September 2010 and concluded on 29 September 2010 with a jury who deliberated for 50 minutes to return a verdict of not guilty.

At the opening and closing of his trial, jurors were told by the judge that Stewart deserves the presumption of innocence despite the high number of sexual assault cases involving high-profile players that have received media attention in Australia in recent years.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NRL Stats
  2. ^ RLP
  3. ^ Read, Brent (4 June 2011). "'Snake' Stewart gives Manly premiership bite". The Australian. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Grand final: As it happened". Fox Sports. 5 October 2008. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2008. 
  5. ^ Liam FitzGibbon (1 August 2008). "Surprises in Kangaroos squad". "Fox Sports News (Australia)". Archived from the original on 8 August 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2008. 
  6. ^ "Veteran Lockyer named in Australian squad". International Herald Tribune. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2008. 
  7. ^ "Manly six win Australia call-up". BBC. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  8. ^ "Stewart out, Hunt and Boyd in". Fox Sports. 16 October 2008. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2008. 
  9. ^ Jane Aubrey (4 March 2009). "NRL looks to bring back the kids in 2009". WWOS. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  10. ^ Andrew Webster (5 March 2009). "NRL season launch reaches new heights". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  11. ^ "NRL pulls ad campaign in wake of police probe into Brett Stewart". Fox Sports News (Australia). 7 March 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  12. ^ "Two players under investigation". Fox Sports News (Australia). 17 March 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2009. 
  13. ^ "Manly accept NRL's decision to suspend Brett Stewart until round five". Fox Sports News (Australia). 11 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  14. ^ "Glenn Stewart named Captain for Round 2". mwse.com.au. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Brett Stewart Talks About Diabetes and His Rising Career
  16. ^ Brett Stewart may never play in the NRL again
  17. ^ a b Phil Rothfield (7 March 2009). "Manly stars Brett Stewart and Anthony Watmough in hot water after launch". Fox Sports News (Australia). Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  18. ^ Brad Walter and Ellie Harvey (10 March 2009). "Girl's father says his criminal past irrelevant". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 11 March 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 
  19. ^ "Stewart charged with sexual assault". ABC News. 10 March 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 
  20. ^ "Manly full-back Brett Stewart pleads not guilty to sex charges". Fox Sports News (Australia). 7 April 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  21. ^ "Stewart case adjourned". The Sydney Morning Herald, League HQ (Australia). 27 May 2009. 
  22. ^ "Stewart's lawyers want access to psychiatrist's report". ABC News(Australia). 23 June 2009. 
  23. ^ "Stewart has case to answer". ABC News. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  24. ^ "Stewart has his day in court". Big Pond News. 4 February 2010. 
  25. ^ a b Kontominas, Bellinda (4 February 2010). "Brett Stewart fronts up to face sex assault charges". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). 
  26. ^ "Manly star Stewart back in court". ABC Grandstand Sport (Australia). 4 February 2010. 
  27. ^ "Father says Brett Stewart's penis visible". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). 4 February 2010. 
  28. ^ "Fans turn out to back Brett". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). 4 February 2010. 
  29. ^ "Father says Brett Stewart's penis visible". The Sydney Morning Herald, League HQ (Australia). 4 February 2010. 
  30. ^ Kontominas, Bellinda (22 March 2010). "Brett Stewart ordered to stand trial". smh.com.au. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  31. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/15/3012352.htm?section=justin

External links[edit]