Paul Gallen has launched a fervid defence of Des Hasler amid Manly‘s terrible late-season form, arguing the officials behind the pride jersey disaster — not the Sea Eagles coach — should cop the blame for the on-field capitulation.
The Sea Eagles were placed ninth on the ladder and were on the same amount of points as eighth when the pride jersey fiasco blew up, but they’ve lost all four games they’ve played since the crisis and were particularly bad at the weekend.
The Sea Eagles were smashed 40-6 by the Sharks at Brookvale on Saturday and, with two rounds remaining in the regular season, sit in 11th on the ladder and four wins outside the top eight.
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Danny Weidler reported on Nine’s 100% Footy on Monday night that Hasler’s position was “safe”, but he said there was “an anger brewing at the club about … their performances”.
Weidler also said the club’s bosses would have “a look at … their high-performance people”.
Gallen shifted attention to the rainbow controversy on 100% Footy, suggesting the Manly officials who decided to introduce a pride jersey without consulting players were responsible for the team’s demise.
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“That Women in League round or pride round incident — that was the club, that wasn’t Des,” Gallen said.
“There’s no doubt, I agree: they’ve fallen off the perch since then. They were really pushing towards that top eight and (were) a big chance, and they’ve gone down hill since then.
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“There’s no doubt (the pride jersey drama) affected the team. But wasn’t it someone at the club who made that decision?
“So, why should Des wear all of it?”
Manly ripped itself apart when officials revealed the Sea Eagles would wear a pride jersey in their clash with the Roosters at Brookvale Oval in round 20.
As the NRL set itself for Women in League round, Manly decided to go a step further by including the pride community.
The decision blindsided seven Manly players, all of whom refused to line up against the Roosters because the pride jersey initiative didn’t align with their cultural and religious beliefs.
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Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley all boycotted the match.
Hasler and Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans fronted the press in the lead-up to the Roosters clash, which Gallen thought was odd.
“I thought when I saw (Hasler) at the press conference, ‘What’s he doing it for?’,” Gallen said.
“The person who made the decision should have been doing it.
“And I don’t care what they say — that affected their season no end.”
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