Tony Mestrov, new CEO

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silvereagle

Reserve Grader
I think unless they NRL make it a “ pride round “ it won’t be done again.

Honestly , it would be madness to do so.
Will be interesting to see as the issue I believe is far from resolved and not just restricted to the Manly 7/10. We just happened to be the first cab off the rank. Scott Penn has already indicated he will do this again next year so expanding this to the NRL is simply just expanding the same situation to the other 15/ 16 clubs. Definition of chaos. As I mentioned, there are potentially 100's of quite legitimate causes such as Pride and Inclusiveness that we could legitimately put on a football jersey....but for which you will no doubt find 000's of supporters....and equally 000's of detractors. After all, we are so lucky to live in a democracy where you are entitled to have a different opinion to everyone else. Now, if you are a professional footballer who has committed and signed a contract to play football, then the only time you should be able to sand down is if you are injured or the club has granted personal / medical leave. None of the above exceptions or exemptions should apply.....no matter how legitimate. If this is unacceptable to the player, then he / she should not sign the contract and the club should look elsewhere.

The real question is whether the clubs are going to be prepared to enforce this and avoid the potential potholes and quagmire.....but also risk loosing a top line player(s).
 

Terry Zarsoff

First Grader
I will chuck this latest piece from Weidler here, rather than in the mega thread, because it’s positive news. One player who has hinted at this divide was of course Jake.

Looks like the Blacktown experiment is drawing to its inevitable close.


Club all at sea in search for ‘Manly DNA’​

Danny Weidler

By Danny Weidler

November 6, 2022 — 5.30am

With the Manly faithful still reeling from the sacking of Des Hasler, another divide at the club is emerging – and it doesn’t relate to the rainbow jersey which destroyed the club’s season.

Some of the Sea Eagles’ highest-profile players privately fear the club has lost its “Manly DNA”. They whisper that Brookvale Oval has become Blacktown by the sea. And in part, it may explain the recent dramatic sacking of Kristie Fulton. The Blacktown reference relates to the tie-up with Blacktown Workers and the seemingly successful feeder club system set up by Bob Fulton to snap up the best in the west.

Kangaroos progress to the semifinals

Australia set up an anticipated blockbuster against New Zealand in the semifinals of the Rugby League World Cup after defeating Lebanon, 48-4.


It’s something the players discuss in private when they don’t have to put their names to the issue, as they know the last thing the club needs is another reason to be divided on top of the pride jersey fiasco. But there is a growing concern about the impact some of the players from the western suburbs are having on the culture of the Manly club and local rugby league.

Parents have relayed stories of young local players being humiliated by players from outside the area, as the former easybeats of the junior representative competitions suddenly began mixing it with the big boys.
Advertisement

The Fulton system astutely targeted schools in the west of Sydney, even to the extent of providing a bus to transport players to training. No mountain was too high or problem too big for Fulton and his pathways team.

Premierships were delivered in Harold Matthews and Holden Cup. Fulton wanted Manly’s best juniors to have the chance to play with good players from outside the district.
(From left) Late Sea Eagles legend Bob Fulton, CEO Tony Mestrov and chair Scott Penn.

(From left) Late Sea Eagles legend Bob Fulton, CEO Tony Mestrov and chair Scott Penn.CREDIT:NRL PHOTOS, GETTY

The importing was less targeted at western Sydney in the beginning. The way Fulton saw things was reflected in a team from years ago when Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Norths Rugby), Kieran Foran (Asquith) and Daly Cherry-Evans (Redcliffe) were part of a very good under-20s side along with the best of the home-grown products.

Tom and Jake Trbojevic came through the same system. Some say the local heroes were allowed to realise their potential because of the quality of their teammates.

Up until recently, the pathways program was supervised by Fulton’s daughter Kristie. She was congratulated on the success of the program by owners and directors in the past 12 months. Yet she was told the club was moving in a different direction when she was shown the door recently.

In an effort to regain its “Manly DNA”, it seems the club is going back to relying heavily on its small junior league nursery to produce stars of the future.

No official announcement has been forthcoming on the direction the club is taking, but David O’Donnell – a former Sea Eagles hooker and teammate of the new CEO Tony Mestrov – has begun in a pathways role. O’Donnell, who will be in charge of the program, has stood down from his role at the Manly Leagues Club, where he was a member of the board of the district football club and an alternative director of the Sea Eagles.

Those who know the juniors scene on the peninsula say the move has the potential to shake things up. Privately, Manly know their junior system will continue to require outside help.

Des’ man safe​

Anthony Seibold will start with the Sea Eagles when he finishes up his commitments in English rugby – and he has told football manager John Bonasera he still has a job with the club. You may remember we published an email from Bonasera in which he apologised to Des Hasler for failing to communicate the club’s intention to wear the pride jersey to the coach and admitted that an error was bound to happen because he had so much on his plate without a CEO at the club.

It seems that he will be one of the few to survive getting mashed in the Hasler cleanout.
 
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I will chuck this latest piece from Weidler here, rather than in the mega thread, because it’s positive news. One player who has hinted at this divide was of course Jake.

Looks like the Blacktown experiment is drawing to its inevitable close.


Club all at sea in search for ‘Manly DNA’​

Danny Weidler

By Danny Weidler

November 6, 2022 — 5.30am

With the Manly faithful still reeling from the sacking of Des Hasler, another divide at the club is emerging – and it doesn’t relate to the rainbow jersey which destroyed the club’s season.

Some of the Sea Eagles’ highest-profile players privately fear the club has lost its “Manly DNA”. They whisper that Brookvale Oval has become Blacktown by the sea. And in part, it may explain the recent dramatic sacking of Kristie Fulton. The Blacktown reference relates to the tie-up with Blacktown Workers and the seemingly successful feeder club system set up by Bob Fulton to snap up the best in the west.

Kangaroos progress to the semifinals

Australia set up an anticipated blockbuster against New Zealand in the semifinals of the Rugby League World Cup after defeating Lebanon, 48-4.


It’s something the players discuss in private when they don’t have to put their names to the issue, as they know the last thing the club needs is another reason to be divided on top of the pride jersey fiasco. But there is a growing concern about the impact some of the players from the western suburbs are having on the culture of the Manly club and local rugby league.

Parents have relayed stories of young local players being humiliated by players from outside the area, as the former easybeats of the junior representative competitions suddenly began mixing it with the big boys.
Advertisement

The Fulton system astutely targeted schools in the west of Sydney, even to the extent of providing a bus to transport players to training. No mountain was too high or problem too big for Fulton and his pathways team.

Premierships were delivered in Harold Matthews and Holden Cup. Fulton wanted Manly’s best juniors to have the chance to play with good players from outside the district.
(From left) Late Sea Eagles legend Bob Fulton, CEO Tony Mestrov and chair Scott Penn.

(From left) Late Sea Eagles legend Bob Fulton, CEO Tony Mestrov and chair Scott Penn.CREDIT:NRL PHOTOS, GETTY

The importing was less targeted at western Sydney in the beginning. The way Fulton saw things was reflected in a team from years ago when Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Norths Rugby), Kieran Foran (Asquith) and Daly Cherry-Evans (Redcliffe) were part of a very good under-20s side along with the best of the home-grown products.

Tom and Jake Trbojevic came through the same system. Some say the local heroes were allowed to realise their potential because of the quality of their teammates.

Up until recently, the pathways program was supervised by Fulton’s daughter Kristie. She was congratulated on the success of the program by owners and directors in the past 12 months. Yet she was told the club was moving in a different direction when she was shown the door recently.

In an effort to regain its “Manly DNA”, it seems the club is going back to relying heavily on its small junior league nursery to produce stars of the future.

No official announcement has been forthcoming on the direction the club is taking, but David O’Donnell – a former Sea Eagles hooker and teammate of the new CEO Tony Mestrov – has begun in a pathways role. O’Donnell, who will be in charge of the program, has stood down from his role at the Manly Leagues Club, where he was a member of the board of the district football club and an alternative director of the Sea Eagles.

Those who know the juniors scene on the peninsula say the move has the potential to shake things up. Privately, Manly know their junior system will continue to require outside help.

Des’ man safe​

Anthony Seibold will start with the Sea Eagles when he finishes up his commitments in English rugby – and he has told football manager John Bonasera he still has a job with the club. You may remember we published an email from Bonasera in which he apologised to Des Hasler for failing to communicate the club’s intention to wear the pride jersey to the coach and admitted that an error was bound to happen because he had so much on his plate without a CEO at the club.

It seems that he will be one of the few to survive getting mashed in the Hasler cleanout.
This is nothing new. Years ago when I was involved in the junior rep teams at Penrith, they would bring 17 young kiwis over every year and I can tell you that the parents of the local boys were far from happy but look at them now, they are a powerhouse of a club
 

Shoe1

Journey Man
The controversy of “bussing people in from the west” was five to seven years ago. Beacon Hill Bears parents complained because their children got bumped down a grade to accommodate the imports. I think Brett Fulton was the coach. This was in the local media and in silvertails.

This article seems to be based on that. It seems to have a grain of truth but is wildly exaggerated, and it wrongly links Blacktown to the issue. The junior rep imports have no Blacktown connection. Also it is pretty common for junior rep teams all over Sydney to have players jumping clubs looking for an opportunity.

The current junior teams have lots of local juniors including Daniel O’Donnell, son of Dave. Dave is a great bloke, has done a lot for manly in recent years, largely voluntary.

There are 4 unrelated threads here that weirdler has conflated:

1) Fulton link in beacon hill bears importing players from the west in about 2015. (I doubt any made it to manly).

2) Blacktown feeder club.

3) sg ball and Matthew’s teams having a mix of local and imported talent (completely normal). There are also quite a few country kids, not just from the west.

4) Dave O’Donnell rumoured to be taking over pathways. Good news if true.

Weirdler confects these unrelated matters into a fake narrative.
 

Pete W

Bencher
Have to say Mestrov seems to be pushing all the right buttons atm... fresh, modern coaching department, key re-signings in a vulnerable time, ending Blacktown connection. Just need to get the Flegler deal down, and maybe a hard arse edge forward from England, and there is cause for optimism
 

Sheikheagle

First Grader
Tipping Member
The controversy of “bussing people in from the west” was five to seven years ago. Beacon Hill Bears parents complained because their children got bumped down a grade to accommodate the imports. I think Brett Fulton was the coach. This was in the local media and in silvertails.

This article seems to be based on that. It seems to have a grain of truth but is wildly exaggerated, and it wrongly links Blacktown to the issue. The junior rep imports have no Blacktown connection. Also it is pretty common for junior rep teams all over Sydney to have players jumping clubs looking for an opportunity.

The current junior teams have lots of local juniors including Daniel O’Donnell, son of Dave. Dave is a great bloke, has done a lot for manly in recent years, largely voluntary.

There are 4 unrelated threads here that weirdler has conflated:

1) Fulton link in beacon hill bears importing players from the west in about 2015. (I doubt any made it to manly).

2) Blacktown feeder club.

3) sg ball and Matthew’s teams having a mix of local and imported talent (completely normal). There are also quite a few country kids, not just from the west.

4) Dave O’Donnell rumoured to be taking over pathways. Good news if true.

Weirdler confects these unrelated matters into a fake narrative.
Was it O’Donnells son that recently signed elsewhere? I wonder if his old man’s appointment will change things. Dave O’Donnell was no superstar but good solid player.
 
D

Deleted member 26876

Guest
Have to say Mestrov seems to be pushing all the right buttons atm... fresh, modern coaching department, key re-signings in a vulnerable time, ending Blacktown connection. Just need to get the Flegler deal down, and maybe a hard arse edge forward from England, and there is cause for optimism
Ah yes seibore the freshest of the fresh

But yes get rid of that blacktown juniors concept. Was stupid to actively turn their back against the local players and they made it too serious at an age where it should have still been fun playing footy with mates. I quit after moving back from melbourne at a bad time and all the games were being cancelled because the games were far away and all the harold matts players were out. It seemed worlds apart from what it was only a few years before that but that may have also been due to my age at the time. The rugby league system in melbourne was more enjoyable because the people who played were still mucking around a bit in a small comp. But regardless the system they introduced wasn’t keeping many local teenagers engaged from my perspective
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Pete W

Bencher
Ah yes seibore the freshest of the fresh

But yes get rid of that blacktown juniors concept. Was stupid to actively turn their back against the local players and they made it too serious at an age where it should have still been fun playing footy with mates. I quit after moving back from melbourne at a bad time and all the games were being cancelled because the games were far away and all the harold matts players were out. It seemed worlds apart from what it was only a few years before that but that may have also been due to my age at the time. The rugby league system in melbourne was more enjoyable because the people who played were still mucking around a bit in a small comp. But regardless the system they introduced wasn’t keeping many local teenagers engaged from my perspective
Yeah of course we won't know if it's a successful head coach appointment at this stage (obviously have my doubts), but at least Tony's having a dig
 

manly al

First Grader
Losing track of the different Sydney club affiliations , is it Nth Sydney Bears now affiliated with Souths or has that changed again , Newtown with the Roosters , previously with the Sharks Central coast with the Roosters , just not keeping up to date . St George , skipping Cronulla - Sutherland and their long association with the Illawarra . Manly and Black Town , can 't really see the big deal . Not too sure of the accuracy of this report of uneasiness of some outside Manly influence , always or mainly always have had a major proportion of outside players in the main squad , Competitive Mathews and S G Ball sides will allow a fairly good chance of translating success then into the top grade Heck even the Broncs used to and probably still do have a large proportion of main squad players from QLD country areas or outside the city area in general . Who cares where above average talented and capable juniors originate from , and just using the Roosters as an example . if the ultimate result is a regular competitive main squad . If there could be players of the caliber of Koula , Olola - atu Paseka , Saab , Fainus and so on produced at a local level , great , but just not the current or even previous reality in the main .
 

manly al

First Grader
Still not sure of the wisdom of suggesting that Garrick could automatically slot into a centre role if Tony was authorized to publicly state that and if he personally endorsed it . Not too sure also where that may have originated if Tony was just being a spokesperson on the matter , surely not from Seibold or Flannagan , Last time i can recall him playing centre was with the Dragons reserves grade side some years ago . Just hope that he can bring some stability to the joint by just having a fairly long tenure and just that professional and business like approach that he apparently showed at other organizations . Steven Humphries seemed to be going O K until his personal issues disrupted things . Hopefully again , steady and professional outcomes for Tony .
 

Captain Moondog

Absolute Superstar

Rugby league 2022: Manly boss Tony Mestrov breaks silence on sackings and pride jersey fiasco​

Tony Mestrov has sacked Des Hasler and Kristie Fulton, fallen out with broadcast star Ray Hadley and appointed Anthony Seibold as coach. The Sea Eagles boss tells all in a wide-ranging interview.

Michael Carayannis and Phil Rothfield

6 min read
November 13, 2022 - 8:00AM
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...180e0bf565c8cecf1883610ec5e1d?amp#share-tools
Media-link

NRL: The NRL looks set for another bumper year after they released their fixture for the 2023 season.
After just three months in the job Manly chief executive Tony Mestrov has axed two iconic figures at the Sea Eagles and dealt with the continued fallout from the pride jersey fiasco he inherited.

Now the Sea Eagles boss speaks with Michael Carayannis and Phil Rothfield in a no-holds barred interview where he discusses the sackings of Des Hasler and Kristie Fulton, his tensions with broadcasting giant Ray Hadley, why the club appointed Anthony Seibold and if Manly will wear the rainbow jersey again.
You’ve only been in the job for a matter of months but from the outside looking in, it’s like you’ve blown up the joint. What did you identify needed to change?
Before I started I watched from afar. Watching the matches — I think the most difficult thing to watch was the way we lost. That was hard. When I started in the job it wasn’t so much that we were losing it was the nature in which we lost. That concerned me. We were run down against Parramatta at home. That was the first concern. Then we started to have dialogue around a potential contract extension from Des and the discussion went from there.
How bad of a shape was the club in?

In the defence of the club, they hadn’t had any continuity of CEO for a long, long time. That lack of continuity didn’t allow decisions to be made. The consistency of decisions and genuine leadership in the organisation was missing. It had nothing to do with the board or playing group.

Why is Des Hasler no longer Manly coach?

The club had a vision and we were going in another direction. That’s it in a nutshell. During the discussions we had it was quite clear that we didn’t have the same vision for the club. Des is a two-time premiership-winning coach and player at the club. We all respect him.
What was the reaction to Des’ dismissal from sponsors and members?

Scott Penn (chairman) and I were disappointed and sad that Des was going. There were lots of critics around the decision and the media was pretty loud. There was nothing positive coming out of the club and we had to weather that. At all times the board and myself had the best interests of Manly at heart and it was about bringing success back to the club.

We were getting criticised but people didn’t know what was going on because they were only reading what was in the paper and that was disappointing. In the last couple of days people are understanding why we made the decision. They’ve seen the outcome and have a lot of hope for the future.

You knew the sacking of Kristie Fulton would mean people would come for your head. How have you coped with the criticism? Ray Hadley is a powerful dude. He was very close to Bob Fulton and you axed Bozo’s daughter.

This had nothing at all to do with the surname this was about running the business and getting the business in the best shape for the future. Ray and I worked closely and very successfully during my time at greyhounds. It did disappoint me but I will leave it at that.

I knew part of this job was about getting criticism. If you can’t take that you can’t take on the job. My wife asked me if I wasn’t all right would I tell her. I told her I would. A lot of ex-Manly players have reached out to me which isn’t surprising. It was nice to have the support of ex-players and people around the club.

How did the club land at Anthony Seibold?

We have a different playing group to the ones synonymous with Manly who have relied on a large group of senior players. We have a core group of senior players but a lot of young Pacifika players. We thought Anthony was the best person to coach this group and get the best out of them. He has shown that by the discussions he has had with the players already. He is a fantastic human being and the playing group are a terrific bunch of people. We thought Anthony would fit them well.
Why is he the man to turn the club around?

While Anthony hasn’t played for the club he understands the club having coached here before. He understands the political environment which we are looking to reduce. He lives locally and is part of the district which is important. From the first discussions we’ve always been on the same page. Then he had discussions with Scott Penn and the board and we all agreed where we thought the team could go and how we could get the best out of them. Seibs discussed bringing in Shane Flanagan. That was his decision. He also wanted to bring in Jim Dymock who can communicate really well with the Pacifika players. Those combinations showed you that Seibs had matured as a person and learnt from his past. He has come off the canvas and is ready for a second chance. When I did my due diligence and spoke with his ex-players and people who have coached with him, they all said he was ready to coach again.

What is your relationship with Anthony like?

We played against each other when I was at Wigan and he was playing for London. We have some common friends so I felt like I knew a bit about him. We had a relationship without being best mates but it seems like we’ve had a good understanding – particularly around what’s required. It’s been easy.

Do you really think Shane Flanagan will stick out his three-year contract?

In some ways, we would like Shane Flanagan to be a head coach in the NRL again because it means we’ve had success. If we have success I think he can be an NRL coach within the next three years. It’s important for Shane that he inputs structures and processes in place that will stay for a long time. That’s part of the reason why he is here. We want to use his knowledge to win us a premiership. If he moves on — and we all hope he does — that means he has done his job here. Seibs and I have both told him that.

What are your expectations for next season – top eight or four?

Ultimately I’d like to think we’re a top four team year-on-year. That has to be your aim. That gives you sustained premiership success. For next year realistically the goal would be to make the top eight. That’s not a cop out. We came 11th this year. There are reasons for that but the fact is we came 11th. We need to have the eight as a yardstick. I’m not saying we don’t have a team to win future premierships, but that’s what I think is a realistic aim for next year.

Will Manly wear a Pride jersey next year? Josh Aloiai has already said he won’t wear one.

The club hasn’t made a decision. In all honesty it’s something that hasn’t been discussed internally. We need to do a lot better in the way we communicate and educate — it was a warning for the club. Until we can do that better I don’t think it’s a discussion point.

How will you improve communications between front office and footy staff and players?

It goes back to the club not having had a CEO for a while. A CEO is able to communicate clearly with players, staff and the board. Throughout this difficult period communication with the players and staff has been important. I’ve been ringing the players and telling them about everything that has been going on. Seeing each other throughout the organisation is important. We are finally under one roof at the centre of excellence. That is a massive advantage.

Roster-wise, what areas have you identified that you need to strengthen long-term?

There’s no doubt we’ve got a team for the future and players will be given these opportunities. Daly Cherry-Evans is in the form of his life and it would be great if he can play a part in his succession plan. Daly will leave an amazing legacy at the club and should finish with the most games played in the club’s history. I would love for him to stay on and nurture the club’s future halves.

Will there be a change of philosophy in terms of the western Sydney pathway?

The important thing is that we get the balance right like any other club. That’s a mix of players outside the area and players within the area. You want every player to have an opportunity to play for Manly.

Was this a bigger task than you imagined?

I don’t think so. There were things that surprised me and needed more work than I first thought. I came here with my eyes wide open and it’s been difficult but I knew it would. This has been more public than my other roles but I have strong support from the chairman to get the job done.
 

Budgie

In for the long haul.
2016 Tipping Competitor
Tipping Member

Rugby league 2022: Manly boss Tony Mestrov breaks silence on sackings and pride jersey fiasco​

Tony Mestrov has sacked Des Hasler and Kristie Fulton, fallen out with broadcast star Ray Hadley and appointed Anthony Seibold as coach. The Sea Eagles boss tells all in a wide-ranging interview.

Michael Carayannis and Phil Rothfield

6 min read
November 13, 2022 - 8:00AM
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...180e0bf565c8cecf1883610ec5e1d?amp#share-tools
Media-link

NRL: The NRL looks set for another bumper year after they released their fixture for the 2023 season.
After just three months in the job Manly chief executive Tony Mestrov has axed two iconic figures at the Sea Eagles and dealt with the continued fallout from the pride jersey fiasco he inherited.

Now the Sea Eagles boss speaks with Michael Carayannis and Phil Rothfield in a no-holds barred interview where he discusses the sackings of Des Hasler and Kristie Fulton, his tensions with broadcasting giant Ray Hadley, why the club appointed Anthony Seibold and if Manly will wear the rainbow jersey again.
You’ve only been in the job for a matter of months but from the outside looking in, it’s like you’ve blown up the joint. What did you identify needed to change?
Before I started I watched from afar. Watching the matches — I think the most difficult thing to watch was the way we lost. That was hard. When I started in the job it wasn’t so much that we were losing it was the nature in which we lost. That concerned me. We were run down against Parramatta at home. That was the first concern. Then we started to have dialogue around a potential contract extension from Des and the discussion went from there.
How bad of a shape was the club in?

In the defence of the club, they hadn’t had any continuity of CEO for a long, long time. That lack of continuity didn’t allow decisions to be made. The consistency of decisions and genuine leadership in the organisation was missing. It had nothing to do with the board or playing group.

Why is Des Hasler no longer Manly coach?

The club had a vision and we were going in another direction. That’s it in a nutshell. During the discussions we had it was quite clear that we didn’t have the same vision for the club. Des is a two-time premiership-winning coach and player at the club. We all respect him.
What was the reaction to Des’ dismissal from sponsors and members?

Scott Penn (chairman) and I were disappointed and sad that Des was going. There were lots of critics around the decision and the media was pretty loud. There was nothing positive coming out of the club and we had to weather that. At all times the board and myself had the best interests of Manly at heart and it was about bringing success back to the club.

We were getting criticised but people didn’t know what was going on because they were only reading what was in the paper and that was disappointing. In the last couple of days people are understanding why we made the decision. They’ve seen the outcome and have a lot of hope for the future.

You knew the sacking of Kristie Fulton would mean people would come for your head. How have you coped with the criticism? Ray Hadley is a powerful dude. He was very close to Bob Fulton and you axed Bozo’s daughter.

This had nothing at all to do with the surname this was about running the business and getting the business in the best shape for the future. Ray and I worked closely and very successfully during my time at greyhounds. It did disappoint me but I will leave it at that.

I knew part of this job was about getting criticism. If you can’t take that you can’t take on the job. My wife asked me if I wasn’t all right would I tell her. I told her I would. A lot of ex-Manly players have reached out to me which isn’t surprising. It was nice to have the support of ex-players and people around the club.

How did the club land at Anthony Seibold?

We have a different playing group to the ones synonymous with Manly who have relied on a large group of senior players. We have a core group of senior players but a lot of young Pacifika players. We thought Anthony was the best person to coach this group and get the best out of them. He has shown that by the discussions he has had with the players already. He is a fantastic human being and the playing group are a terrific bunch of people. We thought Anthony would fit them well.
Why is he the man to turn the club around?

While Anthony hasn’t played for the club he understands the club having coached here before. He understands the political environment which we are looking to reduce. He lives locally and is part of the district which is important. From the first discussions we’ve always been on the same page. Then he had discussions with Scott Penn and the board and we all agreed where we thought the team could go and how we could get the best out of them. Seibs discussed bringing in Shane Flanagan. That was his decision. He also wanted to bring in Jim Dymock who can communicate really well with the Pacifika players. Those combinations showed you that Seibs had matured as a person and learnt from his past. He has come off the canvas and is ready for a second chance. When I did my due diligence and spoke with his ex-players and people who have coached with him, they all said he was ready to coach again.

What is your relationship with Anthony like?

We played against each other when I was at Wigan and he was playing for London. We have some common friends so I felt like I knew a bit about him. We had a relationship without being best mates but it seems like we’ve had a good understanding – particularly around what’s required. It’s been easy.

Do you really think Shane Flanagan will stick out his three-year contract?

In some ways, we would like Shane Flanagan to be a head coach in the NRL again because it means we’ve had success. If we have success I think he can be an NRL coach within the next three years. It’s important for Shane that he inputs structures and processes in place that will stay for a long time. That’s part of the reason why he is here. We want to use his knowledge to win us a premiership. If he moves on — and we all hope he does — that means he has done his job here. Seibs and I have both told him that.

What are your expectations for next season – top eight or four?

Ultimately I’d like to think we’re a top four team year-on-year. That has to be your aim. That gives you sustained premiership success. For next year realistically the goal would be to make the top eight. That’s not a cop out. We came 11th this year. There are reasons for that but the fact is we came 11th. We need to have the eight as a yardstick. I’m not saying we don’t have a team to win future premierships, but that’s what I think is a realistic aim for next year.

Will Manly wear a Pride jersey next year? Josh Aloiai has already said he won’t wear one.

The club hasn’t made a decision. In all honesty it’s something that hasn’t been discussed internally. We need to do a lot better in the way we communicate and educate — it was a warning for the club. Until we can do that better I don’t think it’s a discussion point.

How will you improve communications between front office and footy staff and players?

It goes back to the club not having had a CEO for a while. A CEO is able to communicate clearly with players, staff and the board. Throughout this difficult period communication with the players and staff has been important. I’ve been ringing the players and telling them about everything that has been going on. Seeing each other throughout the organisation is important. We are finally under one roof at the centre of excellence. That is a massive advantage.

Roster-wise, what areas have you identified that you need to strengthen long-term?

There’s no doubt we’ve got a team for the future and players will be given these opportunities. Daly Cherry-Evans is in the form of his life and it would be great if he can play a part in his succession plan. Daly will leave an amazing legacy at the club and should finish with the most games played in the club’s history. I would love for him to stay on and nurture the club’s future halves.

Will there be a change of philosophy in terms of the western Sydney pathway?

The important thing is that we get the balance right like any other club. That’s a mix of players outside the area and players within the area. You want every player to have an opportunity to play for Manly.

Was this a bigger task than you imagined?

I don’t think so. There were things that surprised me and needed more work than I first thought. I came here with my eyes wide open and it’s been difficult but I knew it would. This has been more public than my other roles but I have strong support from the chairman to get the job done.
Been impressed with Mestrov from Day One. Just hope Penn gets out of the way (I know, flying pigs etc.).
 
Team P W L PD Pts
13 10 3 97 24
14 10 4 118 22
14 10 4 78 22
13 8 5 66 20
14 8 6 143 18
13 7 6 81 18
13 7 6 -55 18
14 7 6 42 17
14 7 7 37 16
15 8 7 -8 16
14 7 7 -50 16
14 6 7 13 15
14 6 8 -55 14
13 4 9 -126 12
14 4 10 -121 10
13 3 10 -129 10
13 3 10 -131 10
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