Manly Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn has given the biggest indication yet that Des Hasler will not be head coach next season.
Hasler is contracted until the end of 2023 and had the Sea Eagles finished in the top six a one-year extension would have been triggered.
But instead, Manly lost their final seven games to finish 11th in the wake of the pride jersey saga — one of the biggest stories of last season.
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There have been reports suggesting Hasler would not be at the helm next season amid a fallout with senior management and Penn did not shut down the speculation when approached by 9 News on Tuesday.
Penn spoke to Danny Weidler following a “significant” board meeting and stressed that the club needed resolution.
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But couldn’t comment on whether Hasler would be at the club in 2023.
“We’ve had a significant board meeting… We’ve been talking to Des and his manager for some time and we’re trying to find a resolution. We’re not quite there yet,” he said.
“We’re still in discussion to be fair, but we need to bring this to a head.”
Weidler said to Penn: “It sounds to me like Des has coached his last game,” to which he offered up a response that won’t fill the coach with much confidence.
“Well look, I can’t really comment on that yet but we certainly have some bridges to mend,” he said.
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Penn also confirmed the club’s interest in former Broncos and Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold, but said it was yet to be determined what capacity he would start in.
“Anthony has been at the club before, he demonstrated phenomenal intellect, he’s a great tactician, he’s really good with the players and he’s shown he’s got credentials as a head coach,” he said.
“We’re still working through our pathway whether that’s assistant to start or the full process but right now we have identified him as someone we’re very interested in and someone who certainly had a few false starts himself but he’s very capable and would do a tremendous job.”
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Penn did concede though that he would “of course” be sad if Hasler’s time at Manly came to an end, saying “he’s a legend of the club.”
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He also called it a “disappointing” position to be in and a “very emotional” situation.
“This is an incredibly emotional issue,” Penn said.
“Des walked out on us back in 2011 and I was the one that picked up the phone to bring him back to the club when no one else wanted him.
“It’s not a place that we want to be, let’s be real. It’s a disappointing place for all of us and it’s very emotional.”
Regardless of whether Hasler remains as coach next season or not, there will be changes to the football staff.
It was reported a month ago that two of Hasler’s assistants — Chad Randall and Michael Monaghan — were set to leave the club.
Penn believes the Sea Eagles’ roster is not the problem, instead it’s the staff leading the players that needs shaking up.
“We have a premiership-winning team, what we need is a football department that can get us back there as quickly as possible,” he said.