Be patient with teen fullback Chevy Stewart: Raiders

Alex Mitchell |

Teen star Chevy Stewart gets his NRL chance at fullback for Canberra this week.
Teen star Chevy Stewart gets his NRL chance at fullback for Canberra this week.

Canberra players are urging their fans to be patient when the side unleashes 18-year-old rising star Chevy Stewart for his NRL debut this weekend.

With veteran back Jordan Rapana (knee surgery) out for around two months, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has turned to the much-hyped teenager to fill in at fullback, starting with Sunday’s home game against the Gold Coast.

But despite electric NSW Cup form, his more-seasoned teammates are warning some growing pains could well be experienced on Stewart’s path to becoming a first-grade regular.

“He’s fresh, he’s 18 and he’s got a lot to learn still, you can’t expect him to light the world on fire,” Canberra winger James Schiller said.

“But he’s gonna go out there and put his best foot forward and basically just be him.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for ‘Chev’, he’s probably one of my best mates here.

“He’s definitely earned it, he plays above his weight every week and he’s going to be a long-term NRL player.”

Halfback Jamal Fogarty echoed that sentiment, and praised the way Stewart had stepped up his ability to bark orders at Canberra’s veteran talents.

“It’s probably easy to come in and be daunted trying to tell ‘Paps’ (Josh Papali’i) and ‘Taps’ (Joe Tapine) and Elliott (Whitehead) and all these guys that have played for their country what to do,” he said.

“This season he’s obviously gone up in that area and he’s only going to get better for it.

“Someone like Chevy is going to be a good player for us down the track … it’s not one game in and either play well or you’re out, he’s got a couple to build himself into.

“So just for all of our fans and everyone, just be patient with him, he will get there in the end so just let him find his feet.”

Once he does, the Raiders will add another dynamic piece to an increasingly-exciting backline that already features the elite pace of wingers Schiller and Xavier Savage and the power-running of centres Matt Timoko and Sebastian Kris.

“(Stewart) is super quick as everyone knows, very agile, super competitive and tough,” Schiller said.

“He plays the way he acts … he’s just a chaotic kind of fella.

“That’s unreal because it brings a whole new kind of energy on the field because we know how skilful he is with the ball, and how tough he is in defence.”