Salary cap drama for Manly star Stewart

Last updated 18:50 27/02/2013
Brett Stewart
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MANLY STAR: Brett Stewart is now the all-time leading try-scorer for the Sea Eagles.

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Manly are confident Brett Stewart will play in the Sea Eagles' NRL opener against Brisbane next Friday despite a salary cap drama.

The four-year contract signed by the NSW fullback last year is still to be registered with the NRL after it was knocked back by salary cap auditor Ian Schubert.

As it stands, Stewart will be unable to run out at Suncorp Stadium, but a club official told AAP that Stewart's deal will be rubber stamped this week.

"Brett Stewart will play in round one, there's no doubt," said newly-appointed head of corporate affairs, Neil Evans.

"It's only a minor thing we are working on, and we're pretty confident it will be signed off very soon."

The club were left with a number of players off-contract after winning the 2011 grand final but key players Kieran Foran, Steve Matai, Daly Cherry-Evans and Matt Ballin all re-signed.

However, Tony Williams, Darcy Lussick, Dean Whare, Michael Oldfield and Daniel Harrison, Vic Mauro and Liam Foran were offloaded as the club battled to meet a number of back-ended contracts agreed to under former coach Des Hasler.

Tom Symonds' move to Manly from Sydney Roosters collapsed on Tuesday when the Sea Eagles were unable to re-structure Stewart's contract to Schubert's satisfaction.

And Sea Eagles chairman Scott Penn admitted it was likely more players could leave as the club tried to balance the books.

"We'll have to make some hard decisions and move on," Penn told Sportal.

"The options are narrowing and we're running out of time so it just needs to be sorted."

Former NSW prop Brent Kite is one player rumoured to be heading for the exit door.

Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart has been frantically looking around for a front-rower to bolster his inexperienced pack and Kite would appear to be a good fit.

However, manager Daryl Mather insists his client is going nowhere.

"If I was a betting man I would say Brent will stay at Manly," Mather told AAP.

"Manly haven't approached us and said they want him to go. He was probably their best forward last year.

"He's feeling very fresh and can go round for another two or three years.

"He's off-contract at the end of the year and may well have to move on to earn the revenue he's getting now at Manly.

"But for now he's staying put."

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- AAP

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