Manly players will stick solid, says Watmough
Senior Manly forward Anthony Watmough is confident the NRL premiers will retain their off-contract stars unless the Sea Eagles are blown out of the water by massive offers.
Since the departure of coach Des Hasler to Canterbury shortly after defeating the Warriors in last year’s grand final, the Sea Eagles have had to endure several rumours linking their stars to rival NRL clubs.
Sought-after halves Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans have attracted the most attention, while Brett and Glenn Stewart have also been rumoured to be on the Bulldogs’ radar.
But Watmough expects new Manly coach Geoff Toovey to secure their services long-term.
“People aren’t going to leave the club for 20 or 30 grand … they’re going to stick solid,” Watmough told AAP.
“You can ask any of the boys in our team – they don’t want to leave unless they have to.
“If the club can do right by them and get them to near what they’re worth. They’re not going to go.
“That’s the good thing about the boys. We’ll always be there at the end of the day. And whatever happens, we’re all mates and that’s what will come through at the end.”
Watmough also described the role head trainer Don Singe had played in making sure Manly’s off-season remained smooth despite the upheaval caused by the exit of Hasler, assistant coach Kelly Egan, recruitment officer Noel Cleal and video analyst Will Badel – all to the Bulldogs.
Watmough said Singe’s ruthless pre-season training regime had removed any doubt that the Sea Eagles’ fitness levels would drop without Hasler.
“I think it was just the shock to get over (when Hasler left), but we’ve still got Donny Singe who has been here as long as I have,” said the 28-year-old, who missed the start of pre-season after a late finish to 2011 courtesy of Australia’s Four Nations campaign.
“You can put the fitness down to Donny Singe, he’s our conditioner. He ran it all even when Des was here and he’s been hammering us.
“It’s been the toughest four weeks I’ve ever had in a pre-season.”© AAP 2013