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Former Manly player Anthony Watmough has unleashed an extraordinary tirade against current skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and ex-coaches Des Hasler and Geoff Toovey.
Speaking on the Hello Sport podcast, Watmough claimed Cherry-Evans “turned into a f***wit” after his first year in the NRL in 2011, in which Manly won the premiership.
Watmough was among a group of senior players who had helped the club to a long period of success.
They were believed to have been upset as young halfback Cherry-Evans’ greatly-upgraded 2012 contract added to the salary cap pressure that eventually hastened some departures.
He claims Cherry-Evans told him that he wasn’t going to turn up to training unless he was given a better deal.
“I said ‘mate you just signed a f***ing four-year deal, you turn up to training’, Watmough said.
“He (Cherry-Evans) goes ‘Nup. My manager told me not to’.
“Not to turn up to training … I’ve looked after him, gave him whatever he wanted as a kid. Always made sure he didn’t want for anything.
“I said to him ‘mate, you know what we’ve sacrificed to stay together, to be successful. Your time will come’ and he just looked me straight in the eye and went ‘nah, not turning up”, Watmough said.
“So I’ve walked out and went to Tooves (coach Geoff Toovey) and said ‘don’t give him any money. You’ve got him by the balls.
“If he doesn’t turn up to training, fine him’.
“And Tooves just succumbed to the board, next thing we know he’s up around the $500,000 mark after being on $50,000.”
“So that’s where Tooves stopped worrying about the players and started worrying about his own back. Tooves chose one side of the board over the players and that’s where he lost me.”
The forward also gave his version of circumstances surrounding coach Des Hasler’s departure to Canterbury in the days after the 2011 premiership triumph, saying he “burnt a lot of bridges”.
“If he had of just said ‘I’ve been offered $1.5 million, I’m going,’ we would have said ‘good, go’. But he blamed everyone else.
“So we as players were furious and then what we found out in the aftermath, well Dessie’s Dessie. He’s always going to look after Dessie.”
Watmough claims could no longer hold onto his side of the story.
“People are going to hate me for coming out and saying this but people have to know at the end of the day what the real situation was,” he said.