It’s the longest fall in NRL history, or so it could be argued. How unprecedented it was, that a club that was a month out from winning a trophy, seemingly self-imploded by losing their multi-premiership winning coach.
And this was off the back of a circumstance that could have been quite easily avoided.
I would like to know who it was in the hierarchy of the Manly Sea Eagles that allowed their sour grapes over Des Hasler’s decision to head to Bankstown to cloud their judgment, and as a result, condemn the near impeccable condition of the club?
Much like a number of other NRL clubs, Manly cannot afford to allow such pointless dilemmas to rear their ugly head, and it was indeed pointless, as proven by the Dragons much more sensible handling of an extremely similar situation in Wayne Bennett deciding to leave for Newcastle, with Darius Boyd in tow as usual.
How can it be that Manly were so intimidated by leaving Hasler as their coach for the remainder of his contract, with the success of the Dragons still very much raw in everyone’s minds post-Bennett’s decision?
The Dragons made it to the semi finals, despite wavering form late in their season, to go on to be beaten in golden point extra-time off the back of a kick from arguably the greatest player to ever lace on a boot.
This example, in my view, leaves the Manly board of directors without an excuse. They can be defended by raising the point of Hasler’s destructive behaviour, but that only came post their decision to suspend him.
Much to my personal chagrin, loyalty can no longer be such a massive issue in the NRL. Clubs cannot help what they cannot prevent, and that is successful coaches being offered big bucks.
Loyalty amongst the fans, however, is crucial, and I would not blame Manly’s devoted members and fans for being more then a little annoyed by the outcome of this controversy.
The board of directors at the Manly Sea Eagles had best think harder about their decisions in future to avoid another outrage of this magnitude.