Anthony Watmough joins Brett Stewart and Geoff Toovey in return to Manly Sea Eagles

Sea Eagles legend Anthony Watmough has been named the head coach of the club's Sydney Shield side for 2024.

Anthony Watmough pictured middle
Sea Eagles legend Anthony Watmough has been named the head coach of the club's Sydney Shield side for 2024. Image: Getty

Sea Eagles legend Anthony Watmough has been announced as the head coach of Manly's Sydney Shield side for 2024. Watmough will join a host of club legends at Brookvale next season, with former Sea Eagles players, Brett Stewart, Geoff Toovey, Matt Orford, Jamie Buhrer, Solomon Haumono and David O’Donnell all in coaching roles at the club.

Toovey is Manly's junior pathways co-ordinator and Stewart is the assistant coach of their SG Ball team. While Haumono is the assistant coach to Manly's Lisa Fiaola Cup side and Oxford and Buhrer are involved in the club's under-16 development program.

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Watmough told The Daily Telegraph, when approached for the job it was an easy decision despite never thinking about becoming a coach after initially being hired as a trainer. "I didn’t even think about becoming a coach for a second, to be honest with you," Watmough said.

"I came in to help run the water. Just spending three days a week with this group of players and seeing them grow as people and footy players, it sort of started to take on its own momentum. With the bond there with the boys, there was an opportunity for me to take on the coaching job, so I accepted. I believe Manly’s culture and DNA can never be rewritten. It is what it is.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Anthony Watmough talks to coach Geoff Toovey during the Manly Sea Eagles NRL Grand Final media day at Brookvale Oval on September 30, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Anthony Watmough was coached by Geoff Toovey in the 2013 season. Image: Getty

"A lot of other clubs seem to have former players on staff. It seems like now the club is slowly getting back the culture and keeping the DNA within the club in some way. Other clubs do it better than some, but it is good that we are slowly getting there."

Sydney Shield is the fourth tier of the NSWRL competition, with players promoted to the Ron Massey Cup from there. Next year will be the first time the club has ever fielded a Shield team and the side will be known as ‘Manly League’ and will be supported by its local leagues club.

Geoff Toovey rejoined Manly after six years away

Toovey was announced as pathways coaching co-ordinator midway through the 2023 season in what was a stunning return to the club after his acrimonious exit in 2015. Toovey, who played 238 games for Manly, also coached the club from 2012 to 2015 and led them to the grand final in 2013.

But he was sacked after the team's ninth-place finish in 2015, despite the fact he'd led them to top-four finishes in 2012 and 2014. "The decision has been made and I have to accept that," Toovey said at the time. "I'm very disappointed that my coaching career has ended this year but it's still not over yet." As pathways coaching co-ordinator, Toovey oversees the coaching structure of Manly’s Harold Matthews, SG Ball, Jersey Flegg, Tarsha Gale Cup, Lisa Fiaola and junior development programs.

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