Martin Taupau drops fresh bombshell on Manly after jersey dramas

·4-min read
Martin Taupau, pictured here in action for the Sea Eagles against the Sydney Roosters.
Martin Taupau in action for the Sea Eagles against the Sydney Roosters. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Manly forward Martin Taupau has reportedly requested an immediate release to join the Parramatta Eels.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the 32-year-old Kiwi looks set to join the Eels for the remainder of the 2022 season.

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Parramatta would have until the August 1 transfer deadline to get a deal done.

According to reports they have the salary cap space to sign the former New Zealand international, in what could be a huge boost heading into the finals.

Taupau is without a contract for the 2023 season and has been way down on form in recent years.

He was initially named to start on the bench against the Roosters on Thursday night, before receiving a late call-up to the run-on side.

The news comes as another blow for the Sea Eagles in the wake of their pride jersey fiasco.

A makeshift Manly side kept their pride but points proved their biggest issue as they were outgunned 20-10 by the Roosters on Thursday night in a major dent to their finals hopes.

After the most dramatic and controversial lead up to a game this season, Manly managed to stay in the game despite seven of their players boycotting their rainbow pride jersey.

Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau'atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley all sat out the match, citing religious, cultural and family concerns over the rainbow strip.

The jersey featured rainbow colours taking up the normal white space on Manly's strip, in recognition of minority groups such as the LGBTQI community pushing for more acceptance and basic human rights.

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Speaking after the game, Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans said only understanding and acceptance can bring the team back together.

A significant challenge still awaits, with the players to return at home next week against Parramatta and another week in the spotlight likely.

Coach Des Hasler claimed on Thursday night he hoped the group would be shown some sympathy by fans, after not being consulted in the lead up to Manly's inclusivity jersey.

Likewise Cherry-Evans said it was vital players welcomed them back with an open mind, pointing to the values the inclusivity initiative had tried to represent.

"It's really important for us to understand where everyone comes from," Cherry-Evans said.

"How can we not go in there and understand and accept what people have done if we are out here trying to promote inclusiveness and diversity?

Alfred Smalley, pictured here with family and friends after Manly's loss to the Roosters.
Alfred Smalley poses with family and friends after Manly's loss to the Roosters. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

"It's not easy ... there is human emotion to this, so it's never going to be perfect.

"But I always see the opportunity in things. I think this could be a chance for us to come together and understand a bit more about each other."

Next week's clash shapes as crucial for Manly, who now need to win up to four of their last five games to make the finals.

When asked if Manly's fight against the Roosters was a statement of how unified the club were, Hasler admitted the Sea Eagles still had some work to do.

"It's been very emotional on all different aspects," Hasler said.

"But we're humans and as long as we take some learning lessons out of it and as long as we grow and I think tolerance going forward (it's a positive).

"It's never going to be solved but at the same time we certainly don't want to be shying away from it."

with AAP

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