Manly Sea Eagles part ways with NRL head coach Des Hasler

Manly Sea Eagles part ways with NRL head coach Des Hasler

Manly have sacked NRL head coach Des Hasler after weeks of speculation about his future in the job, and are set to announce Anthony Seibold as his replacement for 2023.

The Sea Eagles lost their last seven games of the 2022 season as the club’s decision to wear a one-off pride jersey divided and thwarted a playing group that had made the top four the campaign before.

Hasler had a year to run on his contract but his position first came under scrutiny when Manly missed the finals series, meaning the coach failed to satisfy a clause in his contract that would have triggered an automatic extension for 2024.

The situation reached critical mass this week when chairman Scott Penn told the Nine Network the Sea Eagles needed a football department fit for its “premiership-winning team”.

In plotting a succession plan, Penn favoured ex-South Sydney and Brisbane coach Seibold, who was previously an assistant on the Manly coaching staff.

As recently as Wednesday night, Hasler was reported to have told the Sea Eagles he was open to having Seibold as an assistant in 2023 with the view to vacating the head coaching role at the end of that season.

But after meeting on Thursday morning, the board determined the regeneration would be fast-tracked as the embattled club hopes to once-and-for-all mend the divides that cruelled their latest campaign.

Hasler’s exit could yet have a ripple effect on the playing group, key members of which have voiced their concerns about their off-season turmoil.

Captain Daly Cherry-Evans is famously close with the ousted coach as it was Hasler who handed the halfback his NRL debut in 2011 and developed him into a premiership-winning playmaker by the end of the year.

Hasler persisted with the young Cherry-Evans despite senior members of the playing group clashing with the halfback and when the coach’s future came under a cloud this year, Cherry-Evans admitted he had contemplated leaving the club.

Manly’s Tom and Jake Trbojevic raised concerns of their own through manager Paul Sutton, who told News Corp this week the brothers were “down in the dumps” as a result of the instability at the club.

The Sea Eagles could ill-afford to lose the pair, one a Dally M Medal-winning fullback and the other a 15-time State of Origin representative forward.

Hasler is the most recent coach to taken Manly to the premiership, doing so in 2008 and 2011, before leaving the club for a stint at Canterbury.

After two grand-final losses with the Bulldogs, Hasler returned to Brookvale in 2019 to become the second-most capped coach in the club’s history behind Bob Fulton.

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