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A Manly fan’s refrain: Ham-fisted officials made my team a circus

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Hamster Huey, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. Hamster Huey

    Hamster Huey Space Invader Premium Member

    +1,178 /9
    WHEN I was eight years old, after my first visit to Brookvale Oval with my father, I made a lifelong commitment to Manly. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, I promised to love and cherish that proud rugby league club and all who pulled on its jersey until death did us part.

    The ensuing 32 years have been mostly happy. Yes, there have been difficult periods of estrangement — we separated during the Northern Eagles years, when Manly briefly shacked up with the North Sydney Bears — but over the course of our relationship we have spawned four beautiful premierships (1987, 1996, 2008 and 2011, and I love them all equally). But over the past week the bond has been sorely tested.

    The most successful NRL club of the past decade has been brought to its knees by incompetent management and a dysfunctional board and ownership structure that has bred such hate and suspicion among the players that they’re climbing over each other to flee the joint, if they haven’t already scarpered.

    With the season one game old, Manly fans now know the club’s two best players, and indeed two of the sport’s kingpins, Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran, won’t be wearing maroon and white next year. Supporters had just come to terms with the departure of Anthony Watmough and Glenn Stewart. Morale is shot; this season is a write-off, just 80 minutes in.

    Well, so what, rival fans will say. Player transfers are a routine and necessary part of a competition with a salary cap, and the club-hopping keeps the NRL the country’s most evenly contested football code year in, year out.

    But for Manly fans, the pain lies in the fact it didn’t have to be like this. Just 18 months ago, the club’s mini-dynasty seemed entrenched, and looked set to possibly stretch for another decade given the talent on the playing roster.

    Manly may have lost the hard-fought 2013 grand final against the Sydney Roosters, but the future looked bright. It was the club’s fourth grand final appearance in seven years, a remarkable achievement matched in recent times only by the Melbourne Storm.

    Brett Stewart, Glenn Stewart, Anthony Watmough, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai and Brent Kite played in all four of those grand finals. That group, with the possible exception of Kite, was still at the peak of its powers, while young guns Cherry-Evans and Foran, who also featured in the 2013 decider and the 2011 grand final win over the Warriors, were emerging as the NRL’s best halves pairing.

    As has been well documented, the failure last year to offer veteran Glenn Stewart any kind of contract for 2015 was the tipping point. The petty personal differences of the warring factions in the boardroom, which was split over who to keep and who to let go, soon spread to the dressing room.

    Stewart was a much-loved and big personality within the team, and the perceived lack of respect afforded to him particularly infuriated his brother Brett, and his close mates Watmough and Matai.

    The Stewart brothers, Watmough and Matai were among those who had previously settled for salaries well below their market value in order that Manly could retain its premiership-winning core.

    The suspicion was that the club was preparing to throw a big bag of money at Cherry-Evans, and that this would force Glenn Stewart out. The team was bitterly divided, and Watmough sought, and was granted, an early release from the final year of his contract to allow him to join Parramatta.

    Losing Stewart and Watmough was less than ideal, but worse was to come. In what must rank as one of the sport’s most ham-fisted negotiations in years, plans to try to keep both Cherry-Evans and Foran were so badly botched that both chose to walk. Any hope of a premiership for the remainder of the decade went with them.

    Club rhetoric about “rebuilding” shouldn’t be allowed to mask the truth that Manly’s descent into chaos has been a self-inflicted wound that could have been easily avoided had the most basic management structure been in place.

    Sores were allowed to fester, and those who were pulling the purse strings were pulling in different directions, to the obvious detriment of the club.

    What it means, apart from several years in the competition’s wilderness, is that for the remainder of 2015, Manly fans will be cheering for two blokes who don’t want to be there, and despite their public utterances to the contrary, can’t wait to get out.

    Yes, they are professional athletes, but it’s fair to ask: How much will they be willing to bleed for the club, now that they have mentally, and financially, checked out?

    Having Cherry-Evans and Foran in the side is a sad reminder of the circus that the club has become. They have been outstanding players for Manly, but their presence on the field feels hollow. The club should thank them for their services, then show them the door this morning and promote some juniors for tonight’s game against Melbourne.

    And the eight-year-old kid standing with his dad somewhere on the hill at Brookvale Oval can pledge his allegiance to the jersey and all who wear it.
    • Like Like x 10
    • Mavin

      Mavin Well-Known Member

      +929 /43
      Good 2 see some Fans asking question and starting 2 demand some answers
    • Berkeley_Eagle

      Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

      +2,125 /14
      nice read
      • Like Like x 1
      • MPC75

        MPC75 Well-Known Member

        +221 /9
        I don't buy a lot of what is written in this story, most of it is based on media spin.

        I think it is a positive that these 2 are going. These guys were going to take up 1/3 of our cap. If they stayed they would continue to be playing behind an ordinary pack as all our money is tied up in our back line. The way the game is played now the dogs and Rabbits prove that you don't need the best halves and backs in the comp. We have easily the best backline in the comp, but unfortunately we will not be winning a comp without some grunt up front. We just need some good young halves to replace these 2 and spend big on some grunt and we will be fine.
        • Like Like x 3
        • Shoe1

          Shoe1 Well-Known Member

          +7,210 /106
          I think he sums up how many fans feel. He is a journo writing as a fan.
          • Like Like x 1
          • sheridanstand78

            sheridanstand78 Well-Known Member

            +4,863 /73
            Sums up just how I and most of us feel. Betrayed and let down badly by the administration of the club.

            Now learn from this or we are a total basket case. Ball is in the court of Penn and his team now.
            • Like Like x 2
            • Top End Eagle

              Top End Eagle Well-Known Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

              +2,062 /136
              Where are the good young halves coming from? There was a reason we were regarded as so well set when we had cherry Evans and Foran. If fora goes we have lost to superstars halves. It's okay to be optimistic but not stupid. What are we going to buy half the players of these two (Maloney Hopkinson etc) at three quarters the price. That's the hing about it. And where is all this extra grunt. Who would you sign in the forwards who will be available next year and not command overs?
              • Like Like x 2
              • MPC75

                MPC75 Well-Known Member

                +221 /9
                Titans have 2 coming off contract, they won't be keeping both. You don't need superstar halves to win a comp, when was the last time cowboys won a comp? Would you classify the roosters and rabbits halves as superstars? Both are solid but I wouldn't say superstars. As for forwards T Burgess would be a nice fit as would Tamou

                Agree wth it or not, but 1/3 of your cap on 2 players is not smart as it would expose to many gaps across the rest of the squad.
              • tookey

                tookey Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                +5,796 /186
                Can't help feeling that the new owners are only interested in making as much money as they can in the short term. They don't appear interested in the fans or players
              • mikem

                mikem Active Member

                +68 /0
                Nothing more needs to be said!!
              • HappilyManly

                HappilyManly MWTS Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                +19,029 /367
                The Stewart brothers, Watmough and Matai were among those who had previously settled for salaries well below their market value in order that Manly could retain its premiership-winning core.
                This myth is up with The Hand Of Foz.:mad:
                Last year Gifty was $800k+ due to the back ended deals and currently Manly is paying Choc $300k+ in back ended bonuses.@:cool:

                Choc was gasping after every tackle last night and grabbing his bad knee.
                Gifty will get smashed by a Rorter or two on Sunday and his dodgy ankle will go. It was time to release Gifty and Choc forced Manly to release him from his 2015 contract.

                Lets see what unfolds with a bucket load of cash to buy some new forwards/backs - not Lussick, not Hodko pleeeease @:cry:
                • Like Like x 1
                • Frogz

                  Frogz Well-Known Member Premium Member

                  +1,933 /43
                  So the media is OK this time...credible, dribble how do we differentiate.

                  Sick of all the sh1t....media, club, players, management the farking lot....Souths lost 2 international players after the grand final...their CFO their CEO...sacked their Grand Final Captain and pissed off another player for indiscretions, yet our joint is falling apart cause our halves leave.....Broncos sacked players and their coach bought in Bennett, yet all is sweet....Cronulla are a basket case...Dragons tipped out Merrin.....Canberra still have Ricky Stuart.....and the list goes on and on yet we, MANLY, leak like a sieve...occupy every page in every paper and only in negative terms........I just cant cop the cr@p anymore. Cant even have a beer at the local with out copping sh!t...It must be a nightmare.
                  • Like Like x 1
                  • JenEagle

                    JenEagle Well-Known Member

                    +1,891 /57
                    With Parra constantly buying all our players and Foran going there to play 5/8 surely we are talking to Corey Norman's manager today after his game last night with a view to making an offer for next year with parra paying a portion of his next year's contract like we r doing with choc
                  • globaleagle

                    globaleagle Je saisis mon chapeau. Staff Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                    +13,340 /117
                    If it helps.....

                    the leafs got beaten 6-3 by the flames today. Two of those goals were short handed!!!! lol@ the toronto maple leafs!!!

                    (hockey - on da ice for shizzle! waaaasuuuuuuup!)

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