MANLY chairman Scott Penn admits it's "too early to call" whether Des Hasler's tenure at the club for 2012 is untenable and has vowed to closely monitor the situation through the off-season.
On a dramatic day for Canterbury and the Sea Eagles, the Bulldogs yesterday officially announced Hasler's signature on a four-year deal beginning in 2013, with Jim Dymock to take charge of the NRL side until his arrival. Other developments included:
Manly and Hasler issuing statements declaring he will remain at Brookvale until the end of 2012;
William Hopoate revealing he would have considered signing for the Bulldogs following his sabbatical had he known of Hasler's intentions; and
Penn resolving to overhaul the constitutional structure of the club to give the majority shareholders a greater say at board level.
In his statement, Hasler pledged to honour the final year of his Sea Eagles contract, saying: "It will be business as usual for me at Manly during 2012."
Delighted ... Todd Greenberg with 2012 coach Jim Dymock. Photo: Simon Alekna
Historically, arrangements in which coaches announce their movements early rarely work and there are concerns that both clubs will be in limbo next season.
Asked if sticking with Hasler for 2012 was untenable, Penn told The Sun-Herald: "That's always a risk and a risk we will be monitoring . . . The reality is it's still a very fresh decision on Des's behalf. We were in dialogue up until yesterday and we thought we were pretty close. So . . . it's probably too early to call.
"We obviously need to put plans in place butat the same time everyone is going on a break, for six weeks effectively. So we've got a little bit of time. We'll review the situation over coming weeks. At this stage, the plan is firmly that Des will be here in '12 and there's no reason to think otherwise.''
Despite the unusual situation, Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg predicted Manly could mount a spirited title defence with Hasler at the helm.
''Des is the ultimate professional,'' Greenberg said. ''To be fair to Des, he's had to deal with a number of issues over there over the past few years and he's been able to have the steely resolve of the football team. I don't see this [scenario] being any different.''
Asked who was to blame for Manly's failure to retain Hasler, Penn said: ''I think it is difficult to point fingers. I don't think anyone should be necessarily a fall guy for this. It's fair to say we put forward the strongest financial offer we could, it's a substantial offer and Des decided he was looking for a new challenge.
''It's a commercial business and commercially we did everything we can and I guess Des has done what's best for Des.''
Recently appointed chief operating officer David Perry added: ''We're obviously very disappointed with the outcome. Des is one of the greatest coaches the club has ever had.
''[Des] has made mention he wants to take the team back-to-back, so we're very positive he can keep pushing forward in a positive way.''
While Penn said everyone at the club was united in their desire to see Hasler reappointed, he conceded some factions were pulling in different directions. The founder and chairman of SP Health indicated that structural changes were imminent.
''Clearly we have some issues to resolve,'' Penn said. ''It's no secret that the constitution of the Sea Eagles doesn't necessarily reflect the shareholding as it stands. That does create some challenges and that's something we are attempting to resolve … It's a director and shareholder issue. That's something all the shareholders are talking about.''