Manly has always been the club to hate. Today, that rings true more than ever.
Everyone’s getting stuck in now and the print media, in particular, are feasting on your bare bones.
It’s like the field day of all field days, as the man everyone loathes lies defenceless on the gravel, while the vultures lurk near.
Admittedly, things aren’t going great – on or off the field. Everyone’s under question, from the CEO to the orange peeler. No one is spared from the barbarous blows of the hunting pack.
Lyall Gorman is absent. Daly Cherry-Evans isn’t a leader. Head office is crook. The water cooler is broken.
Trent Barrett? He’s being encouraged to walk away.
If he does, we’ll understand. There are issues he faces that are simply beyond his control. I worry that us mere mortals aren’t even aware of the full extent of these troubles either.
There is, after all, only so much a man can take. Nowhere in his employment contract will it state that he is obligated to clean up a mess.
If he sticks around however, he’ll become a legend in my eyes. He’ll embody the resilient foundations this club was built on, prove himself as a man of gumption and gusto, able to withstand any challenge.
This, with or without success on the ladder.
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Not since the merger with North Sydney do I remember things being quite this fragile. Crisis meetings, bullying accusations, salary cap dramas.
This, on top of a catastrophic injury toll that has poured salt onto the wounds of a club under fire.
It’s been tough to swallow.
But a few things remain: the Trbojevic brothers, a Harold Matthews team that have qualified for their second consecutive grand final, and a coach who genuinely loves his players.
Above all, however, remains our love for the club.
Whatever happens, the Sea EAgles will come out the other side stronger. To borrow a line from the anthem of English Premier League giants Liverpool FC: “At the end of a storm, there’s a golden sky”.
This will ring true for Manly too.
You’ve just hit 12,000 members. We all have faith that you’ll see this through. We’ll be there with you every step of the way. You’ll well and truly never walk alone.