Manly facing big decision on Des Hasler following Titans debacle

·3-min read
Scott Penn and Des Hasler, pictured here at Brookvale Oval.
Manly owner Scott Penn has a big decision to make on Des Hasler. Image: Getty

Manly owner Scott Penn has seen a few Des Hasler blow-ups in his time - but the biggest confrontation may just be around the corner.

Hasler will enter the 2023 season with his future far from assured following his side's failure to make the finals this year.

The Sea Eagles needed to finish sixth or higher for the veteran Sea Eagles boss to trigger a clause in his contract guaranteeing an automatic extension for 2024.

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The club's meek exit from this year's finals race – confirmed after an embarrassing loss to the Titans on Sunday – leaves Manly in a difficult predicament before a ball is kicked in 2023.

Do they attempt to remove some of the speculation and chase some sort of stability by signing their coach for a further year?

Or do they give it the first six to eight rounds to see how things are tracking and make a decision on Hasler's future then?

The word is Penn and his board will wait until around Easter before deciding whether to rip the band-aid off and move on from the Hasler era or go with the status quo.

There's a strong push for change at the northern beaches club, with the whispers growing louder that the joint needs a complete shake-up.

New CEO Tony Mestrov's brief is to do whatever it takes – and make whatever decisions are needed - to turn the club into a regular top four contender.

Hasler has made the finals twice in four years since returning to the club in 2019.

It’s an okay return on investment but the Sea Eagles are a demanding club used to regular success.

They haven’t won the premiership since 2011 and don't look like threatening for some time.

And that's the thing Manly fans find most concerning.

Beau Fermor, pictured here scoring a try for the Titans against the Sea Eagles.
Beau Fermor scores a try for the Titans against the Sea Eagles. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Can Manly turn things around in 2023?

Kieran Foran has been arguably their best player this year but only has three games left in the maroon and white before he departs.

His intended replacement Josh Schuster looks unfit, disinterested and out of synch with what Hasler wants.

He's a long way off being a regular starter at No.6.

Jake Trbojevic gives his usual 100 per cent each week but you’d have to say Haumole Olakau'atu is the only Manly forward who strikes fears into opposition packs.

The backline will obviously improve with Tom Trbojevic's return but his fragile chassis can't be guaranteed to get through half a season, let alone a full campaign.

Des Hasler, pictured here speaking to the media at a Manly Sea Eagles press conference.
Des Hasler speaks to the media at a Manly Sea Eagles press conference. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

There are no major signings for '23 and whatever young talent there is coming through at Manly, it's either a well-kept secret or they are made to wait for their opportunity.

The fallout from the rainbow jersey fiasco continues to simmer despite the denials, with the Sea Eagles yet to win a game since it all exploded.

Manly fans used to display an 'In Des we trust' sign at games.

We will know two months into next season whether the board's trust in the coach remains.

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