Des Hasler drama at Manly takes new twist after leaked emails emerge

Manly coach Des Hasler is pictured walking onto the ground before an NRL game.
Manly coach Des Hasler is weighing up a potential $1 million lawsuit against the Sea Eagles over the pride jersey fiasco. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

An email exchange between two Manly officials is expected to be raised by coach Des Hasler, should he decide to pursue legal action against the club.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Hasler is mulling launching action against the club for 'compromising his ability to fulfil his contractual obligations' to the club as a result of the club's pride jersey saga.

TELLING: Matty Johns makes staggering claim in Ben Hunt drama at Dragons

'BE A MAN': Wayne Bennett left furious over Cameron Munster act

Hasler's potential lawsuit is reportedly looking to seek up to $1 million from the club.

A refusal by several players to wear the pride jersey caused a rift within the playing group, culminating in Manly losing their final seven games of the season.

Hasler reportedly would have been guaranteed a contract extension through 2024 had the Sea Eagles finished sixth or higher in 2022 - instead they tumbled from ninth at the beginning of the controversy to 11th by the end of the season.

Key to Hasler's frustration with the club is the fact that neither he, nor the playing group, was consulted about the jerseys.

The Daily Telegraph has since viewed emails exchanged between Manly's commercial boss Luke Tucker and general manager of football John Bonasera, in which Tucker reportedly sought to confirm none of the players had issues with the jersey before they were put into production in May.

On May 24, Tucker reportedly emailed Bonasera to check 'we won’t have any issues with any players wearing these jerseys', to which Bonasera replied roughly an hour later.

“Don’t see an issue at all mate," Bonasera reportedly wrote back.

The Daily Telegraph also reported that Bonasera later apologised to Hasler for not coming to him or the players to double-check himself.

Hasler is slated to earn roughly $950,000 on the final year of his contract next year, with an early termination of the deal expected to cost the Sea Eagles $450,000.

The club has been linked to former Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold and Cronulla assistant coach Josh Hannay as potential replacements for Hasler.

Manly Sea Eagles coaching situation devolving into NRL controversy

In addition to potentially moving on from Hasler, the Sea Eagles are also reportedly looking to re-tool their football operations from the ground up.

Former NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley will reportedly join the club as an advisor, NRL reporter Phil Rothfield said, with Seibold reportedly the favoured choice to coach.

“Anthony Seibold’s name came up and was the favoured choice, but they also think the whole football department needs an overhaul and this is where Laurie’s name came up,” Rothfield told Sky Sports Radio.

“What this is all about is a power struggle and they feel Des has been head coach, head of recruitment, head of football, almost CEO for too long.

“Even if Des was to stay, I think there was going to be a role for Laurie as a part of the club restructure to spread the workload.

“To make sure that Des isn’t doing as much as he does now and is just 100 per cent focused on coaching the team.”

Daly Cherry-Evans and Des Hasler are pictured during Manly's final round NRL press conference.
Manly endured a bitter end to their season, with the future coach Des Hasler in some doubt. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Hasler could make a decision as soon as this week on whether to stay on as head coach, with Manly desperate to set up a succession plan.

Manly have not made a grand final since 2013, leaving them the sixth-longest drought of all clubs.

They did however make the top four as recently as 2021, before suffering a massive blow midway through last season when Tom Trbojevic was ruled out for the year.

The pride jersey issue looms as a significant challenge to overcome, with the management of the jersey and after-effects of the seven-player boycott still hanging over the current Manly power struggle.

The management of pathways and juniors will also be a large issue, with a push from some sections for a better balance between local talent and the Blacktown feeder system.

With AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.