Brett Stewart is now a registered player.
The endless contract saga surrounding Manly Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart has finally come to an end with The Daily Telegraph reporting the player has finally been registered by the NRL.
The four year contract with the Sea Eagles that Stewart signed late last year was rejected by salary cap auditor Ian Schubert and began a contract battle that has lasted until a week before the commencement of the 2013 season.
Stewart and the Sea Eagles will be relieved that the negotiations are finally over and the former Dally M winner can now concentrate on the season ahead.
Fans were not impressed by the length of time the contract took to become accepted and by the number of players the club has had to offload to other clubs and Rugby Union to fit the star player under the salary cap.
It is understood the club was trying to accommodate Stewart by utilising player bonuses but once it became clear this strategy would not be enough the club was forced to start releasing other players to make room.
Multiple back-end contracts signed by former coach Des Hasler was blamed for some of the issues surrounding player contracts for the 2013 season. Now that the contract with Stewart has been accepted the club has said that no more players will need to be released.
The Sea Eagles are clearly happy to see an end to the frustrating situation and are apologising to fans for the drama that the negotiations caused.
“The club has been working closely with the NRL for some time and have had to comply, like every other NRL club, to get to this point,” Sea Eagles general manager David Perry said.
“I understand there has been a degree of frustration in relation to the issue but this process takes time and is complicated for all involved.
“We can now look forward to getting on with a big year of football and a promising season for the game.”
The star fullback will be available for the Sea Eagles first round clash against the Brisbane Broncos next week.