Tom Trbojevic speaks out after bombshell reports rock Manly

Pictured left to right, Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic and coach Des Hasler.
Tom Trbojevic has addressed his commitment to Manly and thoughts around under-fire coach Des Hasler. Pic: Getty

Tom Trbojevic has brushed off ugly rumours of a rift between himself and captain Daly Cherry-Evans, while issuing a staunch defence of under-fire coach Des Hasler.

Reports emerged over the weekend that Manly's disastrous end to the season could cost the Sea Eagles coach his job in 2023.

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Hasler had performance-related clauses inserted into his current contract that would have triggered a one-year extension into 2024 if Manly had finished in the top six this season.

The reality is that Manly's nightmare year ended over the weekend with a club record seventh straight defeat to Canterbury, as a late Matt Burton field goal sealed a 21-20 loss to the Bulldogs.

When the Sea Eagles last won in mid-July, they sat eighth on the ladder and were still a genuine contender as they threatened to find form without Tom Trbojevic.

Since beating the Knights in round 18, the Sea Eagles didn't taste victory again this year, with six of those losses coming after the infamous pride jersey saga.

Manly players and officials have long downplayed the impact of the seven players sitting out the round-20 clash with the Sydney Roosters, but their form since then has been hard to ignore.

Hasler has reportedly been told that he will have to accept a "raft of changes" to his coaching staff for 2023, with an understanding the coach could be moved on if he doesn't agree.

In a stunning report into the embattled club, News Corp on Monday made a number of bombshell claims that will have fans more than a little concerned.

Among them were suggestions the Trbojevic brothers have been so troubled by the supposed in-fighting at the Sea Eagles that they are prepared to walk away from their boyhood club.

The report goes on to suggest that a divide at the club has sparked a push for Cherry-Evans to be replaced by Jake Trbojevic as captain, and that a number of coaches such as Billy Slater and Shane Flanagan have been mooted as potential replacements for Hasler.

Off-contract forward Martin Taupau appeared to take a parting shot at Manly after sharing vision of himself being cut out of plays in a recent loss to Cronulla, in what could be seen as evidence of the divide between players at the club.

Seen here, veteran prop Martin Taupau looks on during a game for the Sea Eagles.
Veteran prop Martin Taupau is one player that won't be at the Sea Eagles in 2023. Pic: Getty (Cameron Spencer via Getty Images)

However, Tom Trbojevic told The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday that reports of a player divide are wide of the mark, that he has no desire to leave or issues with skipper Cherry-Evans.

“I don’t have any plans of leaving because as far as I’m concerned, Des is still the coach,” Trbojevic told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Des is the best person to get us out of the hole we have got ourselves into at the moment.

“I want him to be the coach next year and for many years after that, and I’m speaking on behalf of a lot of people in our club who feel the same. The club has been down this path many times now. Change isn’t always the answer. Stability is what is going to get us out of this.”

Tom Trbojevic denies rumours about Daly Cherry-Evans

Trbojevic went on to point out the false assumption that if players aren't close off the field, then there must be a problem within the squad.

“There are so many different personalities and characters within a football club that it’s only natural for some people to be closer than others," he added.

"But to suggest there is any personal unrest from my end to anyone in the team is untrue, especially not with Chez (Cherry-Evans).”

Pictured here, Tom Trbojevic and captain Daly Cherry-Evans celebrate during a game for Manly.
Tom Trbojevic has denied that there are issues between himself and Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans. Pic: Getty (Mark Metcalfe via Getty Images)

It's understood some of Hasler's assistants at the club such as Michael Monaghan and Chad Randall could be moved on, as well as performance and recruiting gurus Don Singe and Noel Cleal - who are both close to Hasler.

Despite recent claims from Sea Eagles legend Max Krilich that the coach has "had his time", Manly chairman Scott Penn says Hasler still has the backing of the board.

“There are other people out there who have guns out for him. That is not internally. That is external - there are people out there who have it in for him," he told News Corp.

However, Penn defended the decision to hold off on contract extension talks for Hasler - whose current deal runs out at the end of 2023.

“The contract situation is fine. It is like any employee. He will get (an extension) when we get the performance," Penn added.

“Of course it (rugby league) is a different style of business but it is about man management and getting the best out of the team.

“It is as simple as that. There has to be give and take.”

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