Manly is failing Brett Stewart

Mark Young Roar Guru

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    Ignoring the drugs hysteria, there is a big problem in rugby league around the dashing Manly fullback Brett Stewart. For the sake of this young man, the Manly Football club needs to act like an adult and protect their player.

    In early 2009 all the talk in league was that a crime had been committed on the northern beaches. Most of us, and I certainly include myself in this, believed the worst, that an innocent young woman in her pyjamas had been sexually assaulted by a drunk rugby league player.

    It turns out that we were half right, a crime was indeed committed. Against Brett Stewart.

    379 days after he was accused and splashed over every news outlet, his case was thrown out of court in less than an hour.

    An astonishing read in the Sydney Morning Herald magazine Good Weekend revealed that that fullback had been deliberately targeted by a brazen conman, manipulating a vulnerable young woman into making the most heinous of allegations.

    Brett Stewart did nothing wrong. He simply stood in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    This was three years ago.

    Unfortunately Brett then suffered a second crime. Only this time, it was committed by his club, his coach and his mates. None of whom helped him to move on.

    Des Hasler disgracefully incorporated Brett’s incident into his narrative that “The NRL was out to get us” and “We need to band together since they don’t want us to win”. It won them a surprise premiership.

    And left Manly with a desperately unhappy man, who shuns the media and desperately wants an apology from David Gallop.

    He has gone from being the face of the game, to having ‘rapist’ screamed in his face at nightclubs and by Queensland ‘fans’ at Lang Park.

    Indeed yesterday when word broke that he had been charged by police, the vitriol erupted on social media with huge amounts of personal abuse slung his way.

    Manly needs to find an adult to help this man out.

    If they don’t, he won’t be able to go into a pub for the next 50 years (he is only 28) without wondering if a drunk yahoo is going to bring up the worst day of his life.

    If they don’t, his kids will come home from school crying because of what other kids are saying about their dad.

    It actually isn’t that hard, Matt Johns was involved in a sexual tryst that ruined a young woman’s life. He let Tracy Grimshaw harangue him for twenty minutes and now he’s a TV, print and radio star again.

    His brother Andrew took drugs his whole career, thirty contrite minutes with Phil Gould and he’s an immortal, and all over Channel 9.

    Indeed it will only take four steps.

    1. Spend a week on Camp Quality

    Meeting bright young teenagers who are going to die from cancer before they are old enough to drive is gut wrenchingly sad. It also has a sobering way of focusing your mind of how much fortune you have in your own life.

    Brett has his health, his youth, and is being paid a huge amount of money to play a game.

    2. Get over Gallop

    The hysteria in the media when Brett was accused was overwhelming. David Gallop was given a stark choice. He could help the code by killing the issue with a punishment to the player. Or he could have protected the player, and done huge damage to the code with weeks of highly negative press.

    Not being able to do both, he made a choice and it wasn’t personal. There was never an apology coming, and there certainly won’t be one coming now.

    3. Change nicknames

    Snake has never had good connotations. Be it the bandit in The Simpsons or the bad guys in pretty much every Harry Potter book. Drop it and tell your mates at the club to drop it too.

    4. Cry on TV, ASAP

    Sit him next to his parents and girlfriend, and tell his story. Not just about the assault, and the aftermath, but about being an elite sportsman with Type 1 diabetes. About being a role model to young athletes who think their career is over when they are diagnosed with diabetes.

    I have no interest in the Manly Sea Eagles. I’m a Wests Tigers fan and Manly has brought me nothing but disappointment in the last few years plus the weekly annoyance of listening to my Eagles-crazy mate carry on and on and on.

    But this has to end. An innocent man deserves retribution in the public eye.

    There are lots of reasons to hate Manly. Brett Stewart shouldn’t be one of them.

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    The Crowd Says (90)

    • February 12th 2013 @ 8:04am
      Andy said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      “Manly is failing Brett Stewart” Did Manly suspend Brett Stewart or the NRL? because i am pretty sure Manly did not insinuate in any form that he was guilty.

      “He has gone from being the face of the game, to having ‘rapist’ screamed in his face at nightclubs and by Queensland ‘fans’ at Lang Park. ” He is probably always going to get that as long as he lives in NSW. Also, some of the media seem to have it in for him. Which is illustrated by how some of the stories were written on a nothing issue, where he was arrested and not charged.

      • February 13th 2013 @ 1:20pm
        matt h said | February 13th 2013 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        The point was that Manly failed Brett Stewart by continually fanning the “hard done by flames”, which has not let the guy move on. They have made the scar bigger than it has to be. The could have minimised publicity, got him a therapist, etc but Hasler saw it as a great seige mentality tool.

    • February 12th 2013 @ 8:28am
      Lou said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Oh dear marks allowed an opinion but I’m not !! Where’s the quality in this article ?? Did mark speak to snake about his thoughts on the gallop issue?? Or maybe his work with diabeties Australia, is crying on tv a way of redeeming ones self ?? Come on this story is BS constructive criticism is healthy but making up a story to ensure one gets paid at the end of the week is shallow !! wouldn’t you think ?

      • Roar Guru

        February 12th 2013 @ 8:47am
        Mark Young said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        Hi Lou, thanks for reading my article!

        Brett has done nothing to deserve the sort or hatred being thrown his way.

        Your club should do something to help redeem in the public eye.
        Crying on TV sounds cynical, but it worked for both the Johns brothers who actually DID the horrible things they were accused of.

        You mention Diabetes, believe it or not, that is how I came to hear about Brett Stewart. I used to work on kids camps and there was a young diabetic teenager who raved about how great he was and how wonderfully supportive and nice he was. That is also where I worked (not volunteered) on Camp Quality and had a very sobering 5 days realising that it didn’t really matter that I couldn’t get a girlfriend.

        Footy season is only 23 days away!

        • Roar Rookie

          February 12th 2013 @ 1:19pm
          josh said | February 12th 2013 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          “Brett has done nothing to deserve the sort or hatred being thrown his way.”

          Incorrect, he plays for Manly. That alone is his biggest sin.

      • February 12th 2013 @ 8:57am
        B.A Sports said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        LOL Lou, you are soooo Manly!

        This morning on Sydney Radio Geoff Toovey was doing a generic interview and it was all fine and good. And when asked about
        the Drugs investigation instead of saying “We would like to know if there are any alegations against us so that we can investigate and respond”, he said “We would like to know if there are any alegations against us so that we can defend and deny”…

        I laughed out loud because that is so Manly!

        As for the article itself, Its not a bad read, and I agree. IMO, the Manly Football Club has long let its players and supporters down by defending them and protecting them when they behave poorly or break the rules. Like a parent with a poor behaving child who doesn’t get disciplined, the child never learns.

        Instead of saying, “we are Manly, we are judged more harshly than anyone else so we have to behave better than anyone else”, they say “we are Manly, everyone picks on us, but bring it on, we’re not gong to change who we are”. Thats fine, if who you are has no flaws, but Manly clearly has had flaws (like we all do).

        I would also say Brett Stewart is his own man, and while everyone needs a support network when times are tough, at some point he needs to grow up and take responsibility for his actions.

        • Roar Guru

          February 12th 2013 @ 12:15pm
          apaway said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

          What are the “actions” he needs to take responsibility for, BA?

    • February 12th 2013 @ 8:36am
      oikee said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      I think he needed to get out of Manly. This report seemed to be hidden from the public until now.
      Brett Stewart had a chance to change clubs, change his image, both he and his brother might have been better off changing clubs. All that is now to late.
      It is funny how social media is slamming these players (sportsmen and clubs) we on the roar are minor players.

      • February 12th 2013 @ 11:27am
        planko said | February 12th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        Oikee you are presumming one that he wants to leave and the second is that he does not have a debt to Manly. This debt is olde school. I have no doubt his lawyer who was rumoured to have a bill that manly looked after.

        • February 12th 2013 @ 11:47am
          mushi said | February 12th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          Well that would be a big issue as it means Manly has breached the cap if they didn’t declare it to the NRL

          • February 12th 2013 @ 11:50am
            planko said | February 12th 2013 @ 11:50am | ! Report

            Declare what mushi…For starters Manly was not near the cap till this year coming … What team do you follow mushi? manly feels your love and it makes us stronger…

            • February 12th 2013 @ 12:07pm
              mushi said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

              Declare the payment for his legal representation. and point of fact it was you who made the allegation of wrong doing hear Planko, if manly feels violated it can only be from your allegations

          • February 12th 2013 @ 12:04pm
            eagleJack said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

            mushi I wouldn’t read too deeply into what planko has stated. Hearsay and rumour.

            From my understanding the monies won from the defamation case Brett made against News Limited were used to pay for his lawyers.

            No idea how planko even got onto “olde school” debts, but anyway.

            • February 12th 2013 @ 12:08pm
              planko said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

              Eaglejack getting on the mushi side nice… debts come in several forms of which one is actual money. People at Manly (the football club, the coach at the time & the supporters) stood by him throughout that whole saga and still do. This is not a financial debt but a debt I would be keen to repay. However if the club had sympathetic legal team etc etc please you took me so literally both of you are clearly gen Y

              • February 12th 2013 @ 12:12pm
                mushi said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

                Oh so Planko you said, and I quote, “a bill that Manly looked after” you meant they gave medical care to a pelican’s proboscis and not settle a financial debt that was outstanding to a legal professional?

              • February 12th 2013 @ 12:16pm
                eagleJack said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                Not taking sides planko. Just not wanting incorrect info out there that could tarnish Manly.

                And yes Brett would feel indebted to the club and its supporters for sticking by him. If you have ever been part of a club culture they do become like family. And because of the extreme circumstances Brett was placed under this bond would feel even more real to him, and one he would wish to repay through performing on the field for years to come.

                But that type of debt isn’t what you were talking about in your first comment.

              • February 12th 2013 @ 12:20pm
                planko said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

                EJ when I refered to debt being of an olde school variety this is exactly what I refering to… The lawyer would been “a friend of manly”. It would have been done on the slate… Manly would have prepaid him for whatever he needed within reason. The real invoice for services may have come out just to justify a law suit. etc etc…

              • February 12th 2013 @ 1:43pm
                oikee said | February 12th 2013 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                I dont take much notice of Akkermannus , he does bring up a interesting poin ti mentioned the other day about Manly and fringe players being sent to United Kingdom.

                Another point that was mentioned is some players being stood, down, or maybe being told they are not to play games until clearence is given. In other words your name is mentioned in this report, go take a cold shower, see you in a few weeks.
                I have a list of players not only from the NRL, but also AFL and the other codes as well.
                I think maybe someone should take a list besides me and compare notes when this drugs and tanking, sorry match fixing, is all over and done with. See how well the players line up with the scandals.

              • February 12th 2013 @ 2:25pm
                planko said | February 12th 2013 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                Oikee I concede that players across the board are getting bigger but I think it relates heavily to playing FULL TIME. There is no mention of MANLY in this article ? You did indicate there was ?

              • February 12th 2013 @ 7:04pm
                Dean - Surry Hills said | February 12th 2013 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

                Mushi – do you know if Greg Inglis footed the bill last time he was represented by a QC to defend a shoulder charge gone wrong on Dean Young ? I doubt it very much.

                If players were permitted to select Dennis Denuto over a Lawrence Hammill QC type, in an attempt to save a hefty legal bill – then you’d probably see offenders sitting out for twice the amount of time on the sideline.

                Clubs would simply not permit their stars to be thrifty.

                In this personal off-field event of Brett Stewart, do you honestly believe that there was any financial gain to the Manly RLFC by payment of his legal expenses by a third party?

                What fact seems to have been conveniently overlooked by you, is that both Manly RLFC and Brett Stewart have lost large amounts of income. The loss of both his rights to be the face of the NRL, and the endorsements of a host of other products and services, as well as the loss of ticket revenue, merchandise sales, and club memberships are through no fault of their own – as proven in a court of law within one hour.

                The NRL and David Gallop will never apologize as that would be an admission of liability. This would open up a legal path for both parties to seek reasonable compensation.

            • February 12th 2013 @ 12:08pm
              mushi said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

              I suspect that is the case, I just find it funny that he thinks I’ve got it in for Manly because he’s saying they’ve done the wrong thing??

              • February 12th 2013 @ 12:13pm
                planko said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                I dont think they did the wrong thing you do … I am ok with a club looking after their player in this way. If any club went over the cap for something like this I would not care.

              • February 12th 2013 @ 2:50pm
                mushi said | February 12th 2013 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

                Planko according to the rules they agreed to abide by they did the wrong thing if they paid a bill payable by Brett. cut and dried. black and white.

              • February 12th 2013 @ 2:51pm
                planko said | February 12th 2013 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

                Disagree nothing is black and white in this case but I am happy to agree to disagree with you buddy it won’t be last time this year. Who do you go for was it NQLD ? Whoever it is good luck this season.

              • February 12th 2013 @ 3:15pm
                mushi said | February 12th 2013 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

                If you pay a bill for player you need to declare it. I am a roosters member. So we’ve probably only done it 57 times :0

              • February 12th 2013 @ 3:20pm
                planko said | February 12th 2013 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                Roosters I would say your season will be interesting at the very least.

      • February 12th 2013 @ 8:20pm
        Dave said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

        Haha oikee. Didn’t the broncos help out a certain test half from bankrupt years ago with a gambling prob by giving him more money that he lost AGAIN. Didn’t they protect a certain test five eight from assault charges on a cafe owner that we all later saw footage that he did. Last but not least didn’t they protect a certain current test forward from sex assault charges that were also proven in a toilet with other broncos players involved. The main difference is your club protected the guilty. Our club is protecting the innocent. Love it when you put your opinion forward. I will jump on you every time.

    • February 12th 2013 @ 8:47am
      Michael said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      As a 15 yr manly member, I can honestly say
      I think you’re right Mark. Though I was not in the
      ‘Most of us’ group who automatically assumed he was guilty
      I can remember having several screaming matches with mates about this when the story broke, and continued as nothing short of vitriolic venom against him until he was found not guilty. I saw him the morning of the verdict in the coffee shop in my building across from downing centre, he looked a broken man, and to an extent still does to this day. A media witch hunt, then thy all scramble for the interview after. Just crazy

      Whilst I like that we are the insular peninsular, sometimes it goes too far, may explain why our membership numbers this year are woeful

      • Roar Guru

        February 12th 2013 @ 12:49pm
        Mark Young said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        Thanks for reading Michael! Have a good day mate

    • February 12th 2013 @ 8:52am
      Mals said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Hi Mark, I can see your heart is in the right place with this piece but I see some problems with your article:-

      “Indeed yesterday when word broke that he had been charged by police, the vitriol erupted on social media with huge amounts of personal abuse slung his way.”

      Brett was charged with nothing in relation to this incident. This is what happened:- when Brett Stewart left the venue at a later stage he was asked by Manly Police to attend the police station whilst they investigated the matter. Manly Police then advised Brett that they would review CCTV footage, which could take some time, and suggested Brett go home. The following day Manly Police contacted Brett to advise him that the investigation had been concluded and the footage demonstrated no wrongdoing by Brett.

      “Spend a week on Camp Quality” – Brett already does a huge amount with the charity Juvenile Diabetes. He is a diabetic himself so this is a charity close to his heart.

      I have met Brett a couple of times at Manly functions and he is a pleasure to talk to & quick to smile for a photo. He does not enjoy the spotlight & just because he is a professional League player it doesn’t mean he should have to reinvent himself as a larger than life character e.g. Beau Ryan

      • Roar Guru

        February 12th 2013 @ 9:52am
        Mark Young said | February 12th 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        Hi Mals, that is just what I think! He has done a huge amount of work and everyone who has actually MET him, likes him.

        But he has a terrible terrible image. An image he doesn’t deserve.

        His mentors and leaders at the Sea Eagles need to publicly redeem him else he will spend the rest of his life putting up with the garbage he copped on the weekend.

        • February 12th 2013 @ 10:35am
          Mals said | February 12th 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

          Unfortunately one of his “mentors” has been Zorba who still acts like it’s the 1960s….

          • Roar Guru

            February 12th 2013 @ 12:51pm
            Mark Young said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

            Oh yes, the “Media Manager” who responded to a question from a Foxsports reporter by giggling and calling her a good sort.

        • Roar Guru

          February 12th 2013 @ 12:21pm
          apaway said | February 12th 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report


          There are parts of the article that are terrific and you make some excellent points. But the “cry on TV” stuff is, to me, a bit cynical and out of place on an otherwise well-constructed piece. However, it is a point well-made when comparing Brett Stewart to the Johns brothers and their media resurrection despite actions far far worse than anything Brett Stewart has done.

    • February 12th 2013 @ 8:57am
      turbodewd said | February 12th 2013 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      Brett Stewart is an adult. He doesnt need molly-coddling from his employer. Why does his employer need to babysit him?!

      I am sure he can manage his own life. Footballers arent super smart, but they have their own friends and family that can help them. No need for their employer to get involved in their personal life.

      Ridiculous article.

      • Roar Guru

        February 12th 2013 @ 9:37am
        Mark Young said | February 12th 2013 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Hi Turbo, can you you answer me this then…

        Why do people hate Brett Stewart so much when hasn’t done a darn thing?

        I think his friends and family, especially at the Manly football club have failed him by encouraging him to remain a victim, waiting for an apology that ain’t coming and stopping him from moving on.

        He may be an adult, but he needs some grown ups to look after him.

        • February 12th 2013 @ 11:14am
          turbodewd said | February 12th 2013 @ 11:14am | ! Report

          Only a handful of ppl would be giving him grief, they clearly dont know that the previous case against him was false and the man behind it was a true crook and conman with a history of such.

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