Despite currently being unregistered, Stewart will play.
Manly superstar and Dally M winner Brett Stewart still remains unregistered with the NRL while his four year contract signed last year is considered by the ARL commission.
The Manly Sea Eagles have faced an uphill battle in getting the contract with Stewart approved by salary cap auditor Ian Schubert and are still in the process of getting Stewart registered.
Manly have lost eight players to other clubs over the off-season and how many of those players left to make room for Stewart under the Manly salary cap is still unclear. But there may be even more to come if the contract is still not approved in time for the round one clash against the Brisbane Broncos.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Brent Kite may be next in the firing line with Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart looking to fill a forward position the big man would be perfect for.
There is the possibility of Stewart being lured by the Canterbury Bulldogs who now find themselves without a fullback in light of the Ben Barba saga. Replacing one Dally M winner with another would not be a bad trade for the Bulldogs however after shedding so many players for this contract already Manly will be desperate to hang on to Stewart.
Manly players and fans are frustrated by the lack of success and length of time that the contract battle over Stewart has lasted. With only a week to go until round one a solution needs to be found sooner rather than later.