Manly have launched a stinging attack on the NRL, claiming Brett Stewart
continues to be vilified for alleged misconduct at the team’s 2009
season launch despite no clear evidence of that.

Sea Eagles coach
Des Hasler, chief executive Graham Lowe and chairman Scott Penn,
fronted the media on Tuesday, with Lowe reading from a prepared

The club say they are furious that Stewart’s name is
continually linked with alleged bad behaviour by other players, in the
wake of Todd Carney’s arrest for drink-driving and Benji Marshall’s
assault charge on Sunday.

Stewart was handed a four-game ban
following his alleged misconduct at the team’s season launch two years
ago, but Lowe refutes there was any clear evidence to support the claim.

The 26-year-old was cleared in court last year of a sexual assault charge stemming from the hours after that launch.

Manly Sea Eagles are astounded at recent statements made by the NRL and
some media outlets at the alleged behaviour of Brett Stewart at the
club’s launch at the Manly Wharf Bar exactly two years ago,” Lowe said.

In addition to Stewart’s ban, the club were fined $100,000 by the NRL, a decision Lowe labelled unfair.

who was recently unveiled as the new face of the NRL, like Stewart was
in 2009, escaped immediate sanction from the NRL on Monday pending his
court appearance in Sydney on April 20 – a decision Manly has backed,
but say is inconsistent with the treatment of Stewart.

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
fined $100,000 would appear to be grossly unfair,” Lowe said.

club doesn’t take any issue with the recent decision of the NRL in the
case of Benji Marshall. Allowing the legal process to take its course,
without intervention, is the correct decision to take.

“The problem the Manly club and its supporters have is that the same support was not given to Brett Stewart.”