Star back-rower Glenn Stewart says he accepts he could be forced out of Manly due to salary cap pressure.
The former Kangaroos representative could be the high profile victim of a salary cap squeeze at Brookvale as the Sea Eagles try to find a way to retain the majority of their star-studded NRL roster.
A key figure in Manly’s success over the last decade, Stewart says his 12th season with the Sea Eagles in 2014 could be his last.
“I’ve made it pretty open I’d love to stay here but I’m under no illusions, we know what the (salary) cap does and we’re just waiting to hear back from Manly,” Stewart said on Tuesday.
“I think Manly are trying to work out what they can do but no, we haven’t heard anything.
“It’s a pretty weird feeling. I haven’t had to deal with it before but I’ve seen mates have to go through it.
“It’s a strange thing but it’s new to me so I’ll just play it as it comes I think.
“I’ve got a manager looking after that stuff and all I can say is I’d like to stay, but if it can’t be done then I’ll look around.”
With talk in-demand halfback Daly Cherry-Evans is set to sign a two year contract extension for around $1 million a year, the Sea Eagles cap squeeze is likely to only get tighter.
Utility Jamie Buhrer is another player off-contract.
Stewart said he hadn’t pondered the possibility of playing against his brother Brett.
“No I haven’t thought about it, it wouldn’t be good but I suppose it’d be pretty funny if we had to,” he said.
Five-eighth Kieran Foran said he hoped the club would retain Stewart but it wouldn’t be a distraction for them as they seek to qualify for the NRL finals for the 10th successive year.
“We can’t focus on it too much. We just have to focus on winning games and playing good footy and let the management take care of the off-field stuff,” Foran said.
“As a playing group we are not trying to read into it too much, we are just trying to let it take its course and hopefully in the end Glenn is here for the long haul.”