NRL: Stewart eyes return for Manly

Brett Stewart. Photo / Getty Images
Brett Stewart. Photo / Getty Images

Brett Stewart has given the strongest indication yet he will be right to play in Friday night's NRL preliminary final after taking part in Manly's first training session of the week on Tuesday.

While Anthony Watmough watched on as he rested his injured knee, Stewart ran at three-quarter pace through a series of running drills with the remainder of the squad.

"We're hoping, you'll see him train today,'' Manly coach Geoff Toovey said of Stewart's chances ahead of training.

"It's one of those things like last week, if he's not right he's not right but we're fairly confident he'll be okay.''

While replacement Peta Hiku has been tremendous at the back during Stewart's absence, the Sea Eagles backline has not look as threatening in attack without the prolific No.1.

Asked about Stewart's desire to play in the sudden-death encounter against South Sydney, Toovey said:

"He was really eager last week as well but that doesn't help the fact that he's got that problem, if he's not right he's not right.

"We're hoping he is (right), we've got a couple of training sessions this week and hopefully he'll get through them and be right to play.

"The bloke who filled in for him, Peta Hiku, has done a great job but Brett Stewart's been in and out in these situations quite often in previous years.

"We're pretty sure and confident, the quality player that he is he'll bounce back and fit straight in.''

Toovey indicated he would give Stewart right up until game day to prove his fitness, as he did ahead of last week's game against Cronulla.

Back-rower Watmough is considered certain to play despite aggravating his knee injury against the Sharks.

- AAP

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