New Manly boss' NRL history with colourful coach Des Hasler

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Incoming Manly NRL CEO Tony Mestrov knows better than to try and change former teammate Des Hasler. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Incoming Manly NRL CEO Tony Mestrov knows better than to try and change former teammate Des Hasler. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

It's the one NRL question Tony Mestrov has constantly been asked since he was named as Manly's latest CEO.

What are you going to do about Des Hasler's hair?

As for the second question?

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Are you going to do something about his tie and the way he mumbles his way through press conferences?

They're not the queries Mestrov, who played 16 of his 17 first grade games alongside Hasler at Manly in the early 90s, expected to be hit with after becoming the club's 14th CEO in 22 years this week.

"Will I make Des get a haircut? Can you imagine me walking in there on my first day saying 'Des, I need to you to get a haircut or a new tie or a new shirt'," Mestrov laughed.

"Des is Des. I'm comfortable with that. He's not about to change and I'm not going to try to change him.

"He's a very successful coach and knows what he wants. I respect what he's done and look forward to working with him."

That's not to suggest the Mad Professor is in for an easy ride.

Hasler has eyeballed half a dozen CEOs during two stints at Manly and is used to getting his way in the relentless pursuit of victory.

He's a hard man to say no to but may meet his match in Mestrov.

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During his time with Hockey NSW and, more significantly, as the head of Greyhounds NSW, the former front-rower has been involved in more than one stoush.

He rarely comes out on the losing side.

The 52-year-old is one of the few people in Sydney sport not afraid to eyeball Racing NSW CEO and rugby league overlord Peter V'Landys.

Mestrov is also a mover and shaker in government circles and has butted the odd head.

Des Hasler and new Manly CEO Tony Mestrov used to be teammates in the early 1990s.. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Des Hasler and new Manly CEO Tony Mestrov used to be teammates in the early 1990s.. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Lifelong mate and leading radio and TV sports broadcaster Matt White said of Mestrov: "He's a really fair man and will listen to both sides of a debate, but he won't back away from a tough decision.

"He will do what's best for the organisation; not what’s best for him personally or for the person in his ear at the time.

"Manly have got themselves a top-notch administrator. Tony has old school values mixed with a new-age administrative style.

"He is one of the best signings the club has made in recent times."

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