Manly conflict: Experts wary of promises to denuclearise Insular Peninsula

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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    Following the emergence of new intelligence from Anthony Watmough, experts remain sceptical of Manly’s assurances the club is no longer a dictatorship besieged by internal nuclear tension.

    Concerns over the rogue nation resurfaced this week when former staffer Watmough deployed a round of savage verbal WMD’s towards targets on the already war-torn Manly region, an affluent enclave cynically referred to as the ‘Insular Peninsular.’

    The erstwhile Blues back-rower – once described in true communist style as a “DNA Freak” – claimed former coach Geoff Toovey “lost him” when he tried to act in the best interests of the club, before switching aim at Daly Cherry-Evans by alleging the current skipper “turned in to a f**kwit” when he became a footballer.

    Watmough claimed the behaviour eventually forced him to flee to the war zone of Parramatta, albeit on a bankrupting 16-game, $800,000 deal which ultimately reduced the capacity of their new stadium.

    Despite the comments rekindling the dormant schadenfreude towards Manly that had settled in rugby league since the last Cherry-Evans fiasco blew over almost a month ago, it has reignited concerns the club isn’t the denuclearised and democratised utopia its administration publicly promises every week whenever something crumbles.

    Daly Cherry-Evans

    (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

    Ever since the fall of the benevolent dictatorship of the Fulton-Pepsi reign, Manly has gradually descended to an outcast hermit state dogged by rumours of impoverished conditions, rights violations and gross wealth imbalance.

    It is a stark contrast to the former days of peace, where the club’s only crime was to pillage players and wipe out smaller, weaker neighbours like North Sydney.

    The advent of this ‘Manly hates Manly and we don’t care’ era has seen the NRL constantly seeking an agreement from the club to provide complete, verifiable and irreversible proof they don’t operate out of demountables, in exchange for two Friday night games and Jason King.

    However, stoic officials from the rogue state continue to trumpet internal harmony as recently as May, promising all nuclear behaviour on the Peninsular had been disarmed since dumping Jackson Hastings out to sea.

    This was accompanied by denials of any inhumane conditions or tyrannical domineering, despite Cherry-Evans remaining captain.

    In response to Watmough’s allegations, club officials emphatically denied the claims by jointly reading a written statement of condemnation while standing before their captain, who was heavily armed.

    The club even took the extraordinary step of thanking Watmough again for his wonderful service to the club, namely the extra cap room his departure provided for irreplaceable halfbacks with a bad wrap.

    In response, the NRL has pledged to continue untangling Manly’s scorching political knot in the hope of a healthier state for the greater good, or just a Nobel Peace Prize for the foyer at headquarters.

    However, they continue to struggle to make meaningful contact due to the club’s paranoid security boundaries, which is just the Spit Bridge’s dreadful traffic.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • June 15th 2018 @ 7:39am
      Paul said | June 15th 2018 @ 7:39am | ! Report

      It sounds like you need a hazmat suit and a geiger counter to go and see a game at Brooky these days. In the old days, you could get away with t-shirts saying “I support…….. and any other side playing Manly”.

      Hope they don’t contaminate my Dragons this weekend.

    • June 15th 2018 @ 8:50am
      Forty Twenty said | June 15th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      It was devastating when the Eels plundered our playing roster and stole our loyal and favorite son , Anthony Watmough.

    • June 15th 2018 @ 9:10am
      Diplomatt said | June 15th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      I appreciate that Watmough has never been accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. I hope that the irony isn’t lost on him that he came out of that podcast appearing to be a far bigger f-wit than DCE. I do love that alleged DCE response: “Nah not coming” or words to that effect, reminds me of my teenage son. And don’t get me started on the Spit traffic….

    • June 15th 2018 @ 9:44am
      Bearfax said | June 15th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      As they often say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t …well you know the adage. I certainly don’t know the full story behind the scenes but I’m sure its a lot more complex than what Watmough and others are portraying. Certainly the club has gone through a difficult period since Hasler jumped ship having left Manly in a hole that Canterbury is now experiencing with back ended contracts. I admire Hasler, but he did Manly no favours leaving Toovey, and now Barrett, to struggle not only with an aging and decimated playing group, but happening at the same time an internal management split developed, and a whole bunch of alleged and disproved accusations occurred, that left the Sea Eagles still struggling to put humpty dumpty together again.

      It was in a sense a perfect storm, where two groups in management were in conflict, older players couldn’t see the writing on the wall and became as a group angered by Manly’s necessary need to rationalise and readjust where they were going to spend their finances. To make matters worse, they went through a period of accusations, all of which, but for the latest salary cap issue, still unresolved, were shown to be unfounded, yet the League did nothing but exacerbate the problem virtually hanging the club out to dry, unlike its actions in protecting some other clubs from too much damage.

      I’m certainly not suggesting external influences are to blame for everything Manly are suffering. Some management decisions and their dithering with the Brookvale Oval issue has supporters walking away in droves. And the injury issues, possibly in part the fault of the Brookvale Oval surface which in times past was immaculate but is now a paddock doesnt help. And then there is coping with a novice coach trying his best and maybe with potential but as yet out of his depth, just further exacerbating the Sea Eagles problems. And then there is the DCE issue that the media love to dissect.

      Hopefully Gorman may be able to get the club back on its legs, but it has a long road to travel. It seems to have got its junior operations working well now, but the senior teams are a mess. Perhaps the Penns should have sold out to the Middle Eastern group. They don’t seem to be making much headways themselves.

      • June 15th 2018 @ 11:01am
        kk said | June 15th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

        Perfectly put, Bearfax. The reality of Dane’s piece stopped me.

        How long does the long road measure in seasons?

    • June 15th 2018 @ 10:23am
      Big daddy said | June 15th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      To me the opening words “intelligence” and “whatmough” don’t seem to gel.
      I am sure every club has had and still have polarizing players at their club.
      Choc has decided to air the dirty laundry but I’m sure that we are all waiting for the “farah” files to emerge .

    • June 15th 2018 @ 11:56am
      kk said | June 15th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

      Dane, for the first time ever you had me bamboozled. So I turned to music for help.

      The Danish National Symphony Orchestra doing The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

      Those Danes have a satirical sense of Rugby League humour with a human dummy
      hanging from the rafters in the auditorium. Name withheld on legal advice.

      The Good: The Brothers Trbojevic.
      The Bad: TIME and 2023
      The Ugly: Anthony Watmough

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