Manly Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey must ask himself a tough question, says Ken Arthurson
Ken Arthurson, the godfather of the Manly Sea Eagles, has advised Geoff Toovey that after a decade in the club's coaching ranks the time is coming when he'll need to ask himself how long is too long in the job.
Arthurson, now aged 85 and acknowledged as the man who engineered the Sea Eagles' rise to the top, said it hurt to admit he believed Toovey was still under pressure, despite last weekend's convincing win over Newcastle.
"Pressure is still there because they're at the bottom of the ladder," Arthurson said. "I hasten to add, they've had a horrific run with injuries and there's not much he can do about that.
"The only thing Geoff has to consider – and it is up to him, of course – is sometimes you can be too long in coaching at the one club. I coached Manly's first-grade team for five years and I voluntarily stood down because I found you do get a little bit too close to the players.
"I would never do or say anything to upset Geoff Toovey because apart from the fact I'm a very good friend of his, there is no one for whom I have more respect. I think he'll know [what to do]. He's a clever bloke, not a mug – I think he'll understand sometimes you can be too long in a job.
"The great Jack Gibson said to me a long time ago he didn't believe a coach should stay with a team for more than three or five years because you get close to players and you can't help that. It's an old but a very true saying that says familiarity breeds contempt.
"So, [Toovey] has got to be looking at that and in my own instance as a coach I realised when it was time to go."
Arthurson maintained he was a strong supporter and friend of Toovey, saying few players rivalled his passion and loyalty for the Sea Eagles.
"He's Manly through and through," Arthurson said.
However, Toovey, who joined the Manly coaching staff in 2004, has endured a tough start to 2015, which kicked off with a 42-12 loss to Parramatta, as he contended with the loss of club favourites Glenn Stewart and Anthony Watmough, and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans signing with the Gold Coast.
Arthurson said there would be a number of clubs who would want Toovey's passion and insights, but said it was imperative the Sea Eagles administration ensured he remained at the club.
"He'd be attractive to other clubs because he has a hell of a lot going for him," Arthurson said. "But I don't think he'd want to coach or do anything against Manly – he's far too loyal.
"Having said that, if he did stand down because he felt he'd been there too long – and, as I say, it does happen to all of us – I think the club would find a role for him, he's part of the club and offers a lot.
"He's one of the most respected players to have represented Manly, not only for his ability and the way he played, but for his loyalty to the place, it has been outstanding.
"I'd be devastated if he wasn't with the club. I genuinely love the bloke and there is no one I have more respect for. His background, his ability is extraordinary and, as I say, if the club didn't use him in some capacity they'd be crazy."
Very Interesting not sure how Toovey will take it.