Rugby league great Laurie Daley has been left disappointed after the NRL opted to block his application to join Manly as an assistant, citing a potential conflict of interest. The former State of Origin coach was set to be part of the major coaching overhaul at Brookvale this season, which has seen Anthony Seibold replace the outgoing Des Hasler following a controversial end to the season.
The conflict of interest relates to Laurie's position as a host for Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast. The broadcaster is owned by the TAB, whose status as a betting company is where the conflict arises, given Daley's potential access to inside information about Manly.
Daley said he was 'disappointed' by the ruling from the NRL Integrity Unit but added that he did understand and respect the decision. He has coached the Indigenous All-Stars team on several occasions in years prior, however that was permitted thanks to it being deemed a non-official match.
Manly had reportedly eyed Daley as a recruit to work as a specialist consultant with five-eighth Josh Schuster. Instead, Daley looks set to continue his broadcast career with Sky Sports Radio.
He told Newscorp he had been excited by the proposition of joining Manly, but understood the reasons why it simply couldn't be done. Daley said he had received a thorough explanation from the NRL Integrity Unit.
“I’m not allowed to have association because of the links to TAB,” Daley said. "Obviously I would like to think they would change their mind but I don’t think they will. I would have loved to have been part of it.
“I was informed of the decision by Jason King from the NRL integrity unit. We spoke about it and he told me the reasons why. They (NRL) have strict codes when it comes to players, coaches or officials being involved in the game, and being involved with betting agencies.
“I accepted (King’s) words — it’s one of those things. I think I would have had a lot to offer. But at the end of the day, the rules are that I can’t do it so I have to play by those rules and accept the decision.
“There was some coaching component to it (the role) but not a lot. It was some mentoring and coaching with the halves. It was working with individuals. But it was all pathways, list management and different aspects of the business.
“You think you’ve got something to offer and you can help some young footy players. It would have been lovely to work with the young Manly halves but, unfortunately, it’s not to be and I have to accept the umpire’s decision and move on. I would love to have got back involved and again get to know what a football club is like, the inner workings of it.”
Sea Eagles poised for overhaul despite Laurie Daley snag
Seibold has replaced Sea Eagles great Hasler, whose contract was laced with kickers and get-out clauses related to on-field performance. Hasler reportedly threatened to sue the club's management over last season's pride jersey saga, saying it diminished his chances of leading the team to the top-six finish that would have netted him a one-year extension due to a clause in his contract.
Manly CEO Tony Mestrov, who joined the club after the fiasco that led to seven Manly players refusing to play for the club in the specially commissioned rainbow kit, was eager to avoid a repeat of the bitter contract dispute. "It's safe to say there are no triggers in Anthony's contract," Mestrov said of Seibold's new three-year deal.
Seibold, in his first comments as Manly coach, backed 21-year-old Schuster to join captain Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves following the departure of Kieran Foran to the Gold Coast Titans. Schuster has struggled with fitness and injury issues, only starting three games last year and failing to feature in Samoa's World Cup squad.
The talented youngster will need a big season to convince coaching staff he can be the club's long-term five-eighth. Having played the majority of his NRL career as a second-rower, Schuster reportedly weighed-in at a whopping 120kg in pre-season after undergoing surgery on an injured calf.
"He's started pre-season well and he's been consistent with his efforts in the first couple of weeks," Seibold said. "We've got a couple of other guys as well who will get a chance to train in that position, but Josh has the opportunity to get first crack at it."
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