NRL: Des Hasler’s Manly contract saga decided months ago after ‘final straw’

Manly’s civil war has reached breaking point with coach Des Hasler reportedly being given an ultimatum to save his position with the club.

Just days after it was revealed Hasler was considering the possibility of legal action against his own club if he parts ways with the team, it has now been revealed he is being told to swallow final demands from club officials if he is to remain coach.

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The Daily Telegraphreports the situation has become “toxic” with Hasler refusing to agree to terms reportedly included in the contract that would see him take a back seat in some football department operations, including player recruitment.

Commentators said last week there was a general view across the game that Hasler has already coached his final game at the club.

Rugby league journalist Danny Weidler reported Sunday Hasler’s fate was actually sealed months ago.

The horror end to Manly’s season which saw seven straight losses after the Pride jersey debacle has put the spotlight firmly on Hasler after the Sea Eagles refused to give the two-time premiership winning mentor an extension.

It emerged on Friday, the club has moved to install former Broncos coach Anthony Seibold as Hasler’s top assistant and future successor to the head coach position — against Hasler’s will.

Manly bosses reportedly want a succession plan in place and Hasler views Cronulla and Queensland assistant Josh Hannay as his preferred option.

Weidler wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald, Manly hade ultimately made a decision to move away from Hasler following the Pride jumper storm as a result of comments he made to the press.

It was left to Hasler to front the press during the scandal as the dressing room appeared to be breaking apart.

The report claims it was the “final straw” when Hasler appeared to suggest there was a break down between the players and the team’s front office.

“The way Hasler is being squeezed out of his position on the Northern Beaches is hard to watch,” Weidler wrote.

“It appears clear he is being placed in an unworkable situation that will lead to an early exit.The beginning of the end for Hasler were his comments at the inclusivity jersey media conference, when he blamed management for putting the players in such a position. Hasler was left to handle media enquiries from the fallout, and the narrative he presented was the final straw.”

Seibold had one season at the South Sydney Rabbitohs where he claimed the Dally M Coach of the Year award before trading positions with Wayne Bennett at the Brisbane Broncos in a messy situation.

Originally signed for five seasons by the Broncos, Seibold lasted less than two before parting ways following the worst season in the club’s history in 2020 where it claimed the wooden spoon for the first time.

Since then, Seibold has worked with Adam O’Brien at Newcastle and Eddie Jones in England’s rugby union coaching staff.

Seibold used to work for the Sea Eagles, having been an assistant under Trent Barrett.

Hasler on the other hand is hanging onto his role by a thread after the nightmarish finish to the season.

Manly were still in finals contention in round 20 when the season imploded on the back of the club’s Pride jersey debacle.

The drama saw seven players withdraw from the match and reportedly create factions in the sheds as the Sea Eagles lost their last seven games to finish the season in 11th, likely five wins out of finals contention.

Although the club also had injuries to key players including star fullback and reigning Dally M Medallist Tom Trbojevic, the jersey drama was clearly the turning point as the club fell sharply away at the end of the season.

But since the season wound down it’s been much worse for the club with reports of unrest in the playing group, division between DCE and the Trbojevic brothers and that coach Hasler could be sacked or walk.

Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans didn’t comment on the situation itself but did say he supported his coach.

“I always stay in contact with Des,” Cherry-Evans said.

“We have a great relationship as coach and captain at Manly. That is why I always endorse him — because we do have such a good relationship.

“It is not for me to get in the way of the club and his relationship. They obviously have business to sort out and I am sure they will get it done by the time we get back for pre-season.”

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