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How Bob Fulton put the Manly Sea Eagles back together again

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Budgewoi Eagle, Mar 3, 2016.

By Budgewoi Eagle on Mar 3, 2016 at 9:58 PM
  1. Budgewoi Eagle

    Budgewoi Eagle In for the long haul. Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    How Bob Fulton put the Manly Sea Eagles back together again
    by Andrew Webster

    It's the late 1990s and a wide-eyed Trent Barrett is standing in the lounge room of Manly coach Bob Fulton.

    Barrett, a tall and talented five-eighth who burst on to the scene for the Illawarra Steelers in the post-apocalyptic haze of the Super League war, is coming off contract.

    The merger between Illawarra and St George is imminent. There's a bloke called Anthony Mundine filling out the No.6 jersey for the Dragons. Nobody is quite sure how the jigsaw is going to come together and if Barrett is the piece that misses out.

    "Bozo" has put the hard sell on Barrett, as he can do. In his two stints as Manly coach, there's barely been a player he hasn't convinced to come play for him.

    "But he was one of the few I missed out on," recalls Fulton. "But I got him in the end."

    Barrett laughs when you mention this anecdote to him.

    "I remember that," says Barrett, who Fulton last year secured as Manly's new coach. "I was 19 or 20 years old. The big city frightened me a bit back then. It took 20 years but I eventually got here."



    Last year, the Penn family, which owns the club, desperately parachuted Fulton into Brookvale.

    His title is "consultant" but it's better to compare him to Mr Wolfe, the character played by Harvey Keitel in the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction.

    Mr Wolfe is a fixer who is rushed in to calmly help Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) clean up a car they splattered with a young man's brains after accidentally shooting him in the head.

    It all works out in the end thanks to the professionalism of Mr Wolfe.

    Last year, Manly was the car splattered with tiny pieces of brain. Fulton was ushered in to clean up the mess.

    He is conscious about talking about what's happened at Manly in the past few years. He wasn't responsible for the departure of favourite son Geoff Toovey. The decision to terminate the coach's contract was made by the board, not Fulton.

    All he will say of the Sea Eagles' predicament is this: "They were on the precipice."

    Enough said.

    Fulton is also streetwise enough to know the rebuild that's happened on the northern peninsula counts for little right now. Nothing's been achieved, no games have been won or lost, no heads have had to roll.

    But ask the Immortal, who has won premierships at Manly as a coach and player, if he's relished the return to the cut and thrust of footy, and he takes a big pause and blurts out the answer.

    "Yeah. I have."

    And then he roars with laughter.

    "I was never out of it. I work two days on the radio [for 2GB], I've been involved with Origin. I got out of coaching when I was 50. I got out of it at a young age. The reason Gus [Phil Gould] and I got out was that the Super League war went for three years, and it was unbelievably draining. I said to my wife at one stage I had to get out of it.

    "So I have enjoyed it. If I had been out of the game totally, it would've been hard to come back and help the club that I love to get back where I think it should be."

    Let's count the ways how Bozo has helped Manly get its groove back …

    THE COACH

    "Manly has only gone outside the system when they haven't had anyone that was ready to take over," Fulton says. "That has worked with a lot of clubs, but there has always been someone coming through the system at Manly. Because the system has changed to some extent, that opportunity is not there.

    "When the owners decided that Geoff wasn't going to be there this year – and that was their decision, I had nothing to do with it – and when there was nobody from within, you have to look outside."

    On the advice of Gould, Fulton honed in on Barrett. It took one meeting between the pair for Fulton to know he was the right man for the job.

    Ask Barrett how often he speaks to Fulton and he says: "Probably 10 times a day. He's got some energy for an old fella. He's been good. He doesn't interfere with the footy. He's not backward in coming forward, but that's the way our relationship is. It's black and white. The conversations are short and to the point and that's the way I like it and the way he likes it. I'm lucky to have someone there like him with so much experience."

    THE HALVES

    Last year, Manly faced the unfathomable prospect of losing both premiership-winning halves in Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran at the same time.

    "It was bad management by the previous administration to have two players of that calibre coming off contract at once," Fulton says. "That was the mistake of the previous administration. They stuffed it up. You look at the good recruitment teams: you don't have two of your top players coming off at the same time."

    It's not worth trawling through the past when it comes to Cherry-Evans. What's fundamental to him back-flipping out of his Titans deal was reassurance from Fulton about the club's future.

    "It took some massaging and telling him what we were going to do," Fulton says. "We told him we were bringing our facilities up to speed, what we were doing with recruitment. He's a very intelligent and articulate young man – and he can play football like all hell. There were things going on in his mind that we needed to put at ease."

    Then Foran became shaky about his deal at Parramatta. How close were Manly to keeping him, too?

    "Very," Fulton says. "We were as close as it gets."

    They lost Foran but gained Dylan Walker from South Sydney, a player they had earmarked for 2017.

    THE PACK

    "Since 1908, a huge amount of things have changed in the game but some have stayed the same," Fulton says. "If you don't win the ruck, you don't win the game: it's as simple as that. If you don't dominate up front, you can't win and that's what happened to Manly last year."

    In 1987, Fulton was coach and Manly had a pack that featured Ronnie Gibbs, Noel Cleal and Paul Vautin – but he needed another prop.

    Club boss Ken Arthurson signed Kevin Ward from Castleford, and then flew him back for the grand final against Canberra. He was the man of the match.

    In the '90s, Fulton was coach again and he needed some hard heads to play alongside Steven Menzies and Nik Kosef. They signed David Gillespie, Ian Roberts and Mark Carroll and they won 1996 premiership.

    "Every decade we've had to rebuild," Fulton says, "and it's always related to not having the grunt up front. We've got to make sure we're competitive at the ruck in every game this year, and if we are we've got a backline that can win games for us."

    In comes Nate Myles, Martin Taupau, Lewis Brown, Apisai Koroisau, Darcy Lussick, Matt Parcell and Nathan Green.

    The recruitment blitz has prompted critics to question Manly's salary cap, which has become a complex house of cards since Fulton coached in the mid '90s.

    Ask him if it's been tricky to deal with, he says: "Yes, it has. But Manly has spent the same this season as they did last year, no more. The third parties are probably a bit better, that's all. The game has changed enormously. The power base has gone to the managers. They could form their own club."

    The question now, with the fortress rebuilt, is how long will he stick around for.

    "That's a pretty good question," he says. "Every year, something will surface. I'll be around as long as they want me."



    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/...ther-again-20160303-gn9bwv.html#ixzz41puNJrKE
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Comments

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Budgewoi Eagle, Mar 3, 2016.

    1. Mark from Brisbane

      Mark from Brisbane Living the dream Premium Member

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      You can't but say that @BOZO has done a good job!!
       
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    2. The Wheel

      The Wheel Well-Known Member

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      What a legend thx Bozo!
       
    3. EaglesDontTweet

      EaglesDontTweet Well-Known Member Premium Member

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      Bozo needs to recruit the next Bozo.
       
    4. tookey

      tookey Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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      Not taking any blame for toovey going
       
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    5. conanu

      conanu Well-Known Member Premium Member

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      So it is obvious that management wanted Toovey gone very early on and Kelly lied to fans, because Barrett was head hunted from Penrith very early on, so early in fact that Phil Gould wasn't even contemplating sacking Cleary otherwise he wouldn't have recommended Barrett to Bozo. I actually think that Bozo is telling the truth that he had nothing to do with sacking Toovey. But I am also sure that if Bozo felt strongly about Toovey being the right man for the job he would still be coaching today. Obviously Bozo didn't rate Toovey enough to fight to keep him.
       
    6. BOZO

      BOZO Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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      The Immortal !!!
       
    7. HK_Eagle

      HK_Eagle Well-Known Member

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      My step father, who was a young 20+ year old footy player and mad Manly fan came into my life back around 1976 and converted me. He also met the Aussie team back around that time and had a chance to get everyone's autograph for me. He said everyone was polite and obliging except Fulton. Said he was the only person to sign and throw the item on the table in arrogant disdain instead of humbly handing it back.
       
    8. Budgewoi Eagle

      Budgewoi Eagle In for the long haul. Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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      Yep. Might be good around football but I've always had the impression I'd never want to meet him.
       
    9. Loobs

      Loobs I am not really Scott Penn Premium Member

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      I saw him on the street the other day and he looked like an angry man. Cheer up Bozo...
       
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    10. HappilyManly

      HappilyManly MWTS Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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      That's a fallacy - Chez had actually re-signed at about half his present contract fee - then Joker pulled it off the table - twice.:cool:

      Why they kept trying to keep Foran is beyond me. The kid kept salivating over BA and he wouldn't settle for any another man :banghead:
       
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    11. Loobs

      Loobs I am not really Scott Penn Premium Member

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      We'll have to judge the genius of Bozo when the Turbos come off contract, although he has the benefit of a lot of old players nearing retirement, which makes the process a lot easier. The last admin had those same guys looking for final pay days, which made it tougher. A lot of people were chasing money with only so much to go around PLUS the need to resign some up and comers. Tough situation and most clubs completely **** that up too to be fair*

      *see, I can something nice about the old admin
       
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    12. HoldenV8

      HoldenV8 Well-Known Member

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      This is what separates clubs like Manly from most other clubs in the NRL.

      Most others seem to love trotting out the "5 year plan" cliche and 99 times out of 100 that 5 year plan never works for one reason or another (most don't even get to year 4 before coaching/player changes are made). Manly looked at that scenario and said "stuff this, fix it, fix it now" which is exactly what Bozo was brought back to do. And it happened.
       
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    13. Loobs

      Loobs I am not really Scott Penn Premium Member

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      It helps to sell the quick fix to players when you a) have someone like Bozo who's name still has sway b) have a recent history of success to point to and c) can sell players on the location.

      A lot of clubs fall over on c. Being able to say to guys hey come live on the northern beaches or come move your family out here and then they come and check it out and see how great it is, BIG selling point that can't be under estimated. It's why Penrith struggled with signings and a major reason why Canberra had trouble with their rebuild. Doesn't hurt us that the offseason is spring when the beaches shine.
       
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    14. Fluffy

      Fluffy Well-Known Member

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      comparing apples and oranges.

      Tooves et al had DCE signed for less, made him the priority and then had the rug pulled out.

      Tooves et al also gave Bozo the freedom of movement re salary cap. If they had not made the tough decision, later critisised and the reason given for being sacked by Penn, to let Gifty go then Watmough would also be here as well as Foran and between the 3 there goes 3/4 of the players Bozo signed.

      No doubt Tooves would not have got all of those players but he certainly would have got some with all the cash he had freed up.
       
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    15. Briza

      Briza Active Member

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      "Ask him if it's been tricky to deal with, he says: "Yes, it has. But Manly has spent the same this season as they did last year, no more. The third parties are probably a bit better, that's all"

      Goes to show the financial state des left us in, finally we have recovered from his back end deals.
       
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    16. Loobs

      Loobs I am not really Scott Penn Premium Member

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      Ok I'll say it seeing as I'm already copping it on another thread.

      Tooves couldn't keep the good players he had. How many of the resigned ones did Bozo punt and replace?

      You saw everything about what the players thought of putting in for Tooves in that second Parra game at Brookie.

      Tooves is a club legend but he had to go for the rebuild to happen.
       
    17. Mals

      Mals Well-Known Member Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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      C'mon Loobs be fair. How could Toovey keep the good players when the salary cap was a complete mess? Do you honestly think he signed players like Mason, Blair etc because he thought they were outstanding players? No they were cheap buys & were brought in to do a job. Toovey was already punted by the time the 2nd Parra game came around. Quit sticking the knife into a club legend.
       
    18. Loobs

      Loobs I am not really Scott Penn Premium Member

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      I'm talking about good younger players wanting to play for him. I just think he's got a somewhat abrasive style and that doesn't mesh with young talent, which is why Barrett was brought in. Head coaching today is more about player management and if your top talent doesn't like you you're done, or a dead man walking like Taylor.

      Please don't try to tell me that team was putting in for him. They had a chance to with the season on the line and rolled over.

      That's not sticking the knife in, it's just a fact. I'm glad the club has moved on, Tooves looks to be getting there too. More important for him is I hope he finds peace and some chill outside of football because I don't think he was enjoying himself or that it was even good for his physical or mental health. Obviously the situation contributed to that but if that's the case and you can't control it, you need to get out for your own wellbeing.
       
    19. Mals

      Mals Well-Known Member Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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      Young players (like Gutherson) leave for opportunity of regular first grade starts & better pay. Young players like the Turbo brothers had no qualms playing for Tooves. The players were putting in for him in the back end of the season winning 8 of their last 11 games. You single out one game where they were poor. Is that fair? To highlight the ridiculous of that statement using one game in isolation you could say the same about the Broncos players when we belted them at Gosford. They didn't play for Bennett. No, they had an off night and in 26 rounds of footy you can't be up every week. Obviously we will have to agree to disagree on this issue.
       
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