NRL 3 years ago

Sea Eagles legends slam Toovey NRL sacking

  • Sea Eagles legends slam Toovey NRL sacking

Manly legends and Geoff Toovey's ex-teammates have come out swinging in defence of the sacked coach, questioning why he wasn't given time to turn around the club's fortunes.

The Sea Eagles on Tuesday confirmed the worst-kept secret in the NRL - that Toovey would not see out the final year of his contract and would be replaced by Trent Barrett.

Former NSW and Australian playmaker Barrett has taken up a three-year deal with the Sea Eagles.

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He is highly-rated after serving his apprenticeship as an assistant at Penrith and overseeing NSW Country for the last four years.

However, some of Manly's biggest names have savaged the decision to axe Toovey, describing it as bewildering and pointing to his record over the first three years of his tenure.

Toovey's downfall was the side's performance this season with Manly set to miss the finals for the first time in a decade.

But his record stands up to that of some of the NRL's best past and present coaches.

Toovey, who will coach his 100th game this weekend against Brisbane, has a 57.6 per cent winning record at the helm.

His record is comparable with that of his predecessor and Canterbury coach Des Hasler (59.2 per cent from 304 games) and former premiership-winner and NSW's most successful coach Phil Gould (59.3 per cent from 284 games).

He also seemingly paid the price for his lack of support for former Manly back-rower Glenn Stewart in his contract negotiations last year before he signed with South Sydney, and for aligning himself with the former Quantum faction at Manly before the Penn family took a 90 per cent share in October.

The Manly Warringah Rugby League Football Club (MWRLFC) released a scathing statement, saying Toovey had been the victim of a campaign to undermine him for most of the year.

It said Toovey, who captained the club to their 1996 grand final win, should have been afforded more respect.

"It's a sad day when an icon of our great club is told he is unwanted as the coach despite being under contract until the end of 2016," the statement said.

"His position as coach was undermined even before the season began and continued relentlessly throughout the entire 2015 season. He has not been treated with the respect he has earned and deserves."

The statement was signed by the MWRLFC board including Toovey's former premiership-winning teammate Cliff Lyons as well as former players Mal Cochrane and Darrell Williams and Sea Eagles director Bob Stevenson.

The football club holds two of seven spots on the Sea Eagles Limited board, which is controlled by the NRL side's owner Scott Penn and his family.

Penn confirmed Barrett's arrival would spark further changes at Brookvale ahead of the 2016 season, amid reports 14 players will be shown the door at the end of the year.

"This has been an intense and thorough process to ensure the long-term future and ongoing success of the club," Penn said.

"Significant changes will be occurring. These changes won't take away from the success the club has enjoyed, but will help reinforce the foundation for a successful future. We are excited about 2016 and beyond."

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