Manly coach Trent Barrett has reportedly quit the NRL club, following another poor season.
News Corp says Barrett gave the club 12 months’ notice in July but the Sea Eagles have decided to release him early from the final year of his contract and he will finish up at the end of the season.
His apparent departure from the northern beaches now puts him in the box seat to replace the sacked Anthony Griffin at Penrith, a place he has been linked to all season.
Barrett worked there as an assistant coach for three years before getting the top job at Manly.
But his whole time at the club has been a rollercoaster ride ever since he was appointed to replace club legend Geoff Toovey in controversial circumstances in time for the 2016 season.
Barrett threatened to walk out only last week after a season in which the club has lurched from one crisis to the next.
It is the second time this year reports have arisen about Barrett expressing dissatisfaction with his level of support from club officials.
In May, he vowed to stick with Manly after he was filmed meeting with his management and lawyers about the situation.
The report comes only hours after some of the club’s senior players publicly said they expect Barrett to stay until the end of his contract.
“He’s here for the next couple of years. Baz is a great coach, the players love him and we’d love to have him around,” said veteran Trent Hodkinson.
“I’m sure it will all work itself out.”
Forward Frank Winterstein said the players had “full faith” that Barrett would stay.