Manly slam NRL over Stewart treatment

In the wake of the Benji Marshall assault saga, Manly chiefs have slammed the NRL‘s treatment of full back Brett Stewart.

Officials at the Sea Eagles have released a statement labelling Stewart’s punishment for an incident at the start of the 2009 season “grossly unfair”.

It follows the NRL‘s decision not to intervene into a charge of assault against Tigers star Marshall laid by police at the weekend.

Stewart, whose case was alluded to in a statement by NRL chief David Gallop, was suspended for four weeks for his behaviour at a boozy pre-season club function.

The NRL also hit the Sea Eagles with a hefty $100,000 fine.

But Manly officials dispute the action, saying Stewart has not received the same level of support from the NRL as Marshall.

A club statement read: “The Manly Club refutes the claim that there was clear evidence of misconduct by Brett Stewart at the Season Launch.

“Licensing police viewed CCTV of the Wharf Bar and no breaches were found, nor were any charges laid against the licensee for breaches of Licensing Laws.”

Stewart was later tried and found not guilty of sexual assualt charges for an alleged incident which followed the function.

They say key evidence in Stewart’s defence, revealed that the NSW Origin star was not drunk at the time.

The statement added: “In hindsight in light of the NRL’s most recent decisions in similar matters the fact that Brett was suspended for four weeks and the club was fined $100,000 would appear grossly unfair.

“The club is adamant that Brett Stewart is not guilty of anything other than being an outstanding citizen and a great footballer.”

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