Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic has signalled he is back and unhindered by injury after blitzing St George Illawarra in the Sea Eagles’ 34-14 NRL thumping at Lottoland.
The role of the modern NRL coach is one of great responsibility and prestige. LOL, jokes – you just throw your keys in the bowl and pray you don’t end up on the Gold Coast.
But even with the industry an unfettered orgy of desperados swapping and role playing, Manly has still been recently dismissed by everyone as just a little bit too freaky and septic.
This was because departing coach Trent Barrett told anyone who’d listen that working there is like a stopover in the Congo, only with worse rugby league facilities.
Barrett’s unfair truth ultimately caused the club a protracted and embarrassing search for a replacement to take control of its football program, which currently stands at 30 professionals and a second hand outdoor setting.
It was another smoothly conducted process by Scott Penn and Lyall Gorman, with willing replacements for Barrett so bare they short-listed Barrett himself.
While this scenario may seem humorous to the outsider, please remember this was an organisation that had just been rejected by Jason Taylor. So please, solemn respect where its due.
But in a totally stable conclusion to the saga, the club decided to move forward and hire former coach Des Hasler as the man to finish cleaning up his own mess.
Hasler will take over the post on a three-year contract, with club bosses satisfied he was the most astute choice after beating out an extensive field of John Cartwright.
If history is anything to go by, the new coach’s deal should presumably build to owning 51 percent of the Penn Empire by 2021, the time of his next routine fall-out.
The skint Sea Eagles will claim the search never reached panic stations, and that gladly re-hiring a man who previously absconded while the payroll smouldered behind him was all part of the plan.
However, the main takeaway from this ordeal is the club’s flat refusal of Geoff Toovey, who obviously fell short of the club’s requirements of being cooky and uncontrollable.
When stacked against Hasler’s attributes, there’s no doubt Toovey’s resume earns him at least the respect of a token rejection.
Like Hasler, he is a successful Manly person who has spilled blood for the cause, except it must be noted his wasn’t calves’.
Better still, not only is he cheaper and administratively cohesive, he carries the title of the world’s toughest pound-for-pound accountant, as proven by the time he let Adam MacDougall step on his head in September – i.e. tax time.
There’s no doubt Toovey could’ve coached the Sea Eagles back to Penn’s small ask of yearly top four finishes, while also managing the club’s $35 budget on the side.
But his most alluring quality that makes this even more stupefying is that he was available and interested at a time the club was as attractive as a garbo’s boot.
Nevertheless, this wasn’t enough, with Hasler winning the race ahead of the other genuine contenders, then John Hopoate, then a pot plant, then Toovey.
I may be speaking from a position of bias as someone who draws great thrills from watching small people combust inside glass boxes, but Toovey would’ve been a super-popular choice to help make Manly palatable again.
Great achievements were possible – especially in unison with other nice guys like the Trbejovic brothers, who too have remained likeable despite being Sea Eagles.