Manly NRL officials have cleared star fullback Brett Stewart of any wrongdoing after it was revealed he had been arrested following an altercation with a patron at a licensed premises in Manly last month.
On the same day the club announced Brett’s brother Glenn would miss the opening six rounds of the NRL season after undergoing knee surgery, the Sea Eagles avoided a second dose of bad news on the eve of the campaign.
Brett Stewart was taken in for questioning by police after allegedly being harassed by a fellow patron at a venue on The Corso at 1:15am on January 19.
“Officers were told an altercation occurred between two men aged 21 and 27,” a police spokesperson said.
“The 27-year-old man was arrested and taken to Manly police station where he was released pending further enquiries.
“The 21-year-old man was issued an infringement notice for excluded person return to licensed premises.”
Manly released a statement claiming they were satisfied with Stewart’s actions.
“The following day Manly Police contacted Brett to advise him that the statement (provided by Stewart) had been retracted, as the footage demonstrated no wrongdoing by Brett,” the Sea Eagles statement read.
“Brett followed protocol and informed the club immediately after the incident.
“The club subsequently conducted an internal inquiry and has similarly cleared Brett of any wrongdoing.”
Glenn Stewart underwent off-season surgery on Friday after injuring his knee during training the previous day.
Despite some reports that he could be out for three months, Sea Eagles medical staff believe that the playmaking lock could return for the round-seven clash against South Sydney on April 26.
Stewart endured an injury-disrupted 2012 campaign, after breaking a bone in his hand in the opening round of the season.
His unavailability for the opening six rounds of the season is set to test Manly’s forward depth with coach Geoff Toovey already needing to find a replacement for departed back-rower Tony Williams.
Toovey said it was a blow to the team and a frustration for Stewart.
“It’s disappointing news for us but we have plenty of talent and it will provide an opportunity for someone to step up and fill his role while he’s out,” he said.
“It’s tough on Glenn after missing the early part of last season. He’ll be working very hard to get back on the field as soon as he can.”
Stewart will see a specialist for a post-operation check-up later in the week.