The Watmough thing? Only surprising thing about the Watmough thing is that it’s been aired. Most if not all of these things remain firmly in-house. Or in-pub, anyway.
But it happens, baby. Oh yes. It happens.
A footy team is like a really big family. They spend so much time with each other, there’s going to be disagreements.
In a group of thirty blokes, and that many again in the staff, not everyone’s going to be best mates.
I have an occasional beer with a current first grader, Origin player, a senior man, and he is what you’d call a good font of fair dinkum. He says blow-ups are normal. He’s seen plenty like what’s happened at Manly.
“I’ve seen punch-ups, blokes really ripping in, stuff that would’ve gone big in the news if it hadn’t been kept in-house,” he says. “At a footy club, what goes on in-house has to stay in-house.
“And it needs to be that way, you need trust among teammates. It’s a very big thing. It’s something that’s spoken about a lot at clubs. Senior blokes will get serious in meetings – this stays in-house.”
Choccy Watmough’s been out of the house for some years now and apparently stewing enough that he could no longer stand the burden of knowing that his side of the story isn’t out in the public sphere.
And our Choccy went back in the tent, and set his truth free on a podcast thingy. And we’ll yap about it for a few days in the way of these things.
And what we’ll yap about is this:
Seems Daly Cherry-Evans was resented by senior blokes at Manly because he wouldn’t obey a pecking order that decreed he should accept less money and thus keep the band together, as Glenn and Brett Stewart, and Anthony Watmough, according to Anthony Watmough, had done.
Further according to Watmough – and any northern beaches knucklehead who knows a bloke who knows a bloke who walks his dog with Dessie around Collaroy – our DCE wouldn’t take smaller money to keep a winning club together by playing for unders in the window of opportunity the salary cap afforded them.
And DCE wasn’t having that, as is his right.
Whether he should’ve, as Watmough says, boycotted training, whether Geoff Toovey should’ve dropped him as Watmough says he urged, whether senior figures on the board should’ve held any sway in selection for the weekend XVII on the park, as Watmough says they did … is a story for another day.
This one purports that Choc and Snake and Gifty Glenn didn’t like the young punk, and still don’t like him, it appears, and the only surprising is that Watmough’s told the world via a podcast instead of anyone who’d listen at the Brookvale Hotel.
Pass the popcorn and/or beer nuts.
Now, again, this stuff happens. Players talk. They know or think they know, or think they know someone who knows, what other players are on. And not just at their club, at all the clubs.
And there’s a seniority thing that older players believe in and younger men, it appears, increasingly do not.
“The culture in footy has changed,” reckons my man. “Young kids are coming through a lot more confident now. There used to be a nod to seniority. If you came in to grade and one of the older boys told you to do something you’d do it. Jump? How high? Unpack all the luggage off the team bus? Yes sir Mr Lockyer sir!
“Now it’s more people talking about young blokes being equal, about everyone being equal. I don’t necessarily agree. I think you have to have earn stripes.
“Young blokes can come through cocky, confident. The U/20s has driven that a bit. They’re getting on TV even though it’s more a glorified Jersey Flegg comp. Reserve grade used to be a big step up, going from boys to men.
“Now a lot of young kids hit U/20s and think they’re one step off first grade. It’s not the case!”
There are clubs – like Manly – that try to keep it going, the seniority thing. At some clubs it’s still about earning stripes.
But there’s a lot of let’s call them ‘confident’ kids today who seem to think that’s not how it should be.
“They just want it all from the get-go without doing any time,” says my man. “They’re being lauded by their peers, girls, managers. Some are coming though with pretty big tickets on themselves.”