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Brett Stewart's NRL future on knife edge

NZN 19/01/2017 Steve Zemek

Manly champion fullback Brett Stewart's NRL career is hanging by a thread after he failed to receive clearance from club doctors to begin pre-season training.

The 31-year-old former NSW and Australian No.1 is facing retirement after missing the back end of last season with a chronic knee injury.

He has not played since June last year and is yet to get back on the paddock just six weeks out from the Sea Eagles' season opener against Parramatta on March 5.

"The club is providing its full support as the record try scoring fullback continues his recovery from surgery last year," the Sea Eagles said in a statement.

Stewart is considered one of the club's all-time greats, having been a lynchpin of club's golden era under Des Hasler and Geoff Toovey as well as holding the club record for most tries.

He sits sixth on the NRL all-time list for most tries having crossed the stripe 163 times during his illustrious 231-game, 14-season career.

However he struggled to make an impact during 2016 and coach Trent Barrett has Tom Trobojevic, widely considered the future of the club, waiting in the wings to assume the No.1 jumper.

Barrett's side is facing an exodus of their most senior players with Steve Matai considering retirement because of an ongoing neck injury.

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