Manly fullback Brett Stewart will be ruled out for up to five months after it emerged that his knee injury requires surgery.
The 25-year-old limped off with the injury after pulling off a try saving tackle on Lote Tuqiri during Monday night’s 26-22 defeat against Wests Tigers.
Scans have since revealed the extent of the injury which is is identical to the one he suffered on his right knee which saw him miss a large chunk of last season.
Coach Des Hasler announced thenews to the media at the club’s training headquarters at the Sydney Academy of Sport at Narrabeen.
“It a shattering blow to Brett personally and us as a club but we have to be positive and he is being positive despite his recent run of bad luck,” he said.
“We proved we can win matches without him last season and we can do it again. It’s not the end of the world by any means but it would be ridiculous not to suggest he won’t be missed – he is a champion player,” he added.
Stewart has told team mates he will be back on the field with them inside five months.
“He has set himself round 20 and it is good he is setting himself goals,” said CEO Graham Lowe.
“The Manly club knows how much of a fighter Brett is and he will be given the best of medical and rehabilitation support to get himself back where he belongs as soon as possible.
“He has been through it before and knows what to expect,” Lowe said.