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‘We were blindsided’ – NRL head coach could sue club for $1 million

Manly Sea Eagles head coach Des Hasler could be set for an ugly departure after threatening to sue the club over the rainbow jersey used in the Sea Eagles’ round 20 clash with Sydney Roosters.

The jersey, which wasn’t put forward to the playing group before being released, was boycotted by seven Manly players, refusing to wear it due to religious and cultural beliefs. This meant that Hasler had to use a seriously depleted side in the game, which the Roosters eventually won comfortably.

This derailed Manly’s season, with the fiasco seeming to contribute to an end-of-season slump that saw them fail to reach the play-offs.

According to the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, the 61-year-old veteran coach is weighing up a lawsuit of more than $1 million for “allegedly compromising his ability to fulfil his contractual obligations”.

Hasler, who is still under contract for 2023, has a clause in his contract that states if he achieves a top-six finish he will be automatically given a contract extension.

However, the Sea Eagles’ season ended with dire form that included seven consecutive defeats – all materialising from the round 20 clash.

According to the report, Hasler will argue that the decision to blindside the playing group with the pride jersey “impeded his ability to reach the key performance indicators of his employment”.

Manly captain, Daly Cherry-Evans has publicly shown his support for Hasler to stay: “I love Des as my coach, so I do hope the club can sort it out, but I do understand there is a business side to footy and Des and the club are going to try sort through that.

“I’d love to see some stability for sure.”

Should Hasler leave, Cronulla Sharks assistant Josh Hannay and former Brisbane boss Anthony Seibold are the two main contenders for the role.

Hasler spent eight years as head coach of Manly between 2004 and 2011 and returned to the club in 2019.

As a player, he appeared in over 250 first-grade games for the Sea Eagles, scoring 72 tries.

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