Manly NRL legend Steve Menzies rates former teammate Brett Stewart as one of the best players he’s seen, after the fullback took sole ownership of the Sea Eagles’ all-time tryscoring record.
The former NSW and Kangaroos forward was present on Monday at Brookvale Oval, where Stewart bagged a brace to go outright top of the Sea Eagles’ tryscoring log.
Stewart entered the match with Penrith on 151 tries, the same as Menzies who he played alongside for six seasons.
After the match Menzies congratulated Stewart on his achievement and spoke graciously about the man who surpassed his mark.
“I’m good mates with Brett, he’s a phenomenal player, a phenomenal tryscorer,” Menzies told AAP.
“Tonight, although they didn’t win, just typified his abilities and what he can do on the field.
“Turning up in the right position, right timing. He’s special to watch.”
Stewart made his Manly debut in 2003 and it didn’t take Menzies long to recognise he was watching the emergence of a gifted player.
“It takes some guys a year, 30-odd games to get comfortable, Brett was always comfortable from the start,” Menzies said.
“He was always an exceptional player, he’s one of the best I’ve seen.”
Although disappointed by Manly’s 11-10 loss to Penrith, Stewart said he was proud of his new record.
Menzies joked he may have to rely on his unparalleled tryscoring strike rate for a forward to ensure Stewart doesn’t completely erase his name from the record books.
He suggested the true record would be 181, as he also scored 29 tries in the three seasons he played under the Northern Eagles banner.
“We had a bit of a chuckle about it,” Stewart said.
Menzies didn’t think it would take Stewart long to reach that mark.
“I can see him going past that within a couple of years,” Menzies said.
“I’ll have to revert to forwards tries or something like that, because he’ll have broken all the records.”
Menzies said Stewart was a prolific try sneak because he had an inherent ability to know where and what time to be there and how fast you needed to be there.
“It’s not just about following up the centre, it’s about reading the play and seeing what’s going to unfold, and then getting in position to receive the ball at the end of that.”
TRYSCORING FEATS OF MANLY SUPERSTARS BRETT STEWART AND STEVE MENZIES
For Manly: Stewart 208 games, 153 tries (1st), Menzies 280 games, 151 tries (2nd).
All NRL clubs
*Ken Irvine, 236 games, 212 tries
*Steve Menzies 349, 180
*Billy Salter 277, 172
*Andrew Ettingshausen 328, 165
*Terry Lamb 350, 164
*Matt Sing, 275, 159
*Hazem El Masri 317, 159
*Nathan Merritt 237, 154
*Brett Stewart 208, 153
*Harold Horder 136, 152