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Stewart to miss NRL do-or-die final

Brett Stewart

Manly's hopes of an NRL premiership have been dealt a huge blow, with fullback Brett Stewart to miss Friday night's semi-final against Cronulla after succumbing to a hamstring injury.
Stewart to miss NRL do-or-die final
by AAP

By Roje Adaimy

SYDNEY, Sept 20 AAP - Manly's hopes of an NRL premiership have been dealt a huge blow, with fullback Brett Stewart to miss Friday night's semi-final against Cronulla after succumbing to a hamstring injury.

Stewart, who also missed last week's finals loss to the Sydney Roosters with the injury, did not train on Thursday and failed a fitness test on Friday morning.

Manly rookie of the year Peta Hiku is his likely replacement for the do-or-die clash at Allianz Stadium.

While Hiku has been a standout substitute in the No.1 jersey in recent weeks, the Sea Eagles have struggled without Stewart, who has not played since round 25.

Of the eight games he has missed this season, Manly have won twice and drawn once - a win-rate of just 25 per cent.

But that record triples with custodian Stewart, the Sea Eagles victorious 13 times in the 17 matches he did play (76 per cent).

In those games, they averaged 26.5 points and conceded just 13. That compares to the average 17 points for and 19 points against without their prolific tryscoer.

The Sharks are also set to be without one of their stars, playmaker Todd Carney, who has all but been ruled out with hamstring trouble.

Captain Paul Gallen on Thursday said Cronulla denied Manly would be easier to beat with Stewart on the sidelines.

"The young bloke (Hiku) who played there last week did really well," he said.

"They've got strike all over the field and it is going to be a big game."

The match kicks off at 7.45pm (AEST).




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