Manly players in emergency meeting over rainbow jersey saga: 'Frustration'

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Manly Sea Eagle captain Daly Cherry-Evans (pictured left) in a press conference and (pictured right) Manly players wearing a rainbow jersey.
The Manly Sea Eagle players are set to hold a meeting to talk through the rainbow jersey saga that has engulfed the NRL club. (Getty Images)

A players-only meeting at Manly will attempt to broker peace for a club still at war with each other over the rainbow jersey fiasco.

Life member and former top-ranking official Peter Peters has revealed the playing group will meet on Sunday in a bid to patch up the rift between players on both sides of the divide.

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Seven players – Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau'atu, Tolu Koula and Toafofoa Sipley - stood down from Thursday night's game against the Roosters after refusing to wear the gay pride-themed jumper due to religious and cultural differences.

The patchwork Sea Eagles put up a brave fight in the 20-10 loss, but the defeat could prove fatal to the club's top eight hopes.

Manly must now win four of their last five games to stand any chance of making the finals.

Club bosses, coaching staff and front office staff have been told to steer clear of Sunday's meeting as Sea Eagles players attempt to sort out their differences alone.

"The meeting will be vital for the club going forward, with reports of a split playing group getting louder," Peters told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast Weekend.

"I hope that the three big player voices in the team – Jake Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans and Josh Aloiai - take charge and sort it out.

"They're going to have to sort it out because they are no closer to sorting it out than when players stood down early in the week and said they wouldn’t play.

"The players want to sort it out themselves. They don’t want any outside voices."

Manly players reportedly divided over jersey drama

Some players who played in the Roosters game are understood to be upset over being left short-handed for such a vital match, while members of the self-exiled seven are stunned club chairman Scott Penn indicated the controversial jersey would be rolled out again in 2023.

"The seven that didn't play are no closer to wearing that jersey than they were last Monday," Peters said.

Penn denied there is a rift in the playing group but admitted differences need to be sorted out.

He said: "It’s really important everyone gets together and really talks it through. There's not as deep divide as has been reported.

Jake Trbojevic (pictured middle) looks deflated after the Manly Sea Eagles concede a try against the Roosters.
The Manly Sea Eagles were decimated by the Roosters after the rainbow jersey saga. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

"There's some frustration as to how it all played out. They were put in a very difficult position and there's no hard feelings at all.

"It was an emotional week (and) there needs to be a clear-the-air session

"They are incredibly determined to contribute over the next five weeks. I think we will see a very cohesive team for the next five weeks.

"The focus now is on (Friday night's opponent) Parramatta."

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