We've heard news this morning that Manly fullback Brett Stewart has been suspended by the NRL for the first four matches of the new season after being charged with sexual assault on a 17 year-old young woman. We applaud the NRL's decision, and are sad that the Manly club could not have made the decision itself, having previously decided that Stewart's suspension was not warranted.
Sure, there is the issue that Stewart is innocent until proven guilty. But he is one of the NRL's marquee players, and once again the season starts with a cloud over the game.
And what of Manly? Stewart claims he was "too drunk" to remember what happened on Friday night. What does that say about the culture of a professional sports club; one the allows players to drink themselves into that state at an official club function, a week out from the start of the season? Let's not forget too that at the same function, Manly player Anthony Watmough was involved in an "altercation" with a club sponsor. The NRL has fined Manly A$100k, and the Sea Eagles could count themselves lucky it wasn't more.
And Stewart's suspension is extra good news for the Vodafone Warriors who travel to Brookvale Oval in round two - go the Warriors!