Taylor is interested in the role — but would the fans have him? (Brett Costello)
Taylor is interested in the role — but would the fans have him? (Brett Costello)

Manly’s ultimate insult to club legend Toovs

IN their playing days, Geoff Toovey and Jason Taylor were the public faces for two of the game's sworn enemies.

But in a potential move that would infuriate many Manly fans, former North Sydney Bear Taylor has now emerged as a bolter to take over from Trent Barrett.

This is despite the fact club legend Toovey remains on the outer, three years after he was sacked to make way for Barrett.

Manly chief executive Lyall Gorman confirmed on Wednesday that a new coach as well as a full reform of the football club structure would be in place for when players return to pre-season training on November 5.

It leaves the club little time to make some huge decisions, while also struggling to come to a legal resolution with Barrett.

Barrett's current assistant John Cartwright remains favourite to claim the top job following Michael Maguire's withdrawal because of similar concerns to Barrett, relating to the club's lack of resources.

Gorman would not comment on which coaches were in the running when contacted, although he said more than two contenders were alive in the race.

 

Neil Henry remains on Manly’s radar. (Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos)
Neil Henry remains on Manly’s radar. (Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos)

 

Neil Henry is the other coach with proven head coaching experience whose name is being tossed up as a fair dinkum chance.

Henry was the Dally M coach of the year at Canberra and instrumental in putting together the premiership-winning roster at North Queensland. He also received widespread praise for the work he did on a limited budget at Gold Coast before he fell out of favour following Jarryd Hayne's arrival.

But while no one at the club will say so publicly, Toovey's name is simply not in the mix, despite Toovey boasting a 58 per cent winning record after taking over in the tumultuous period that followed Des Hasler's exit.

 

The club aren’t interested in bringing Toovey back. (Toby Zerna)
The club aren’t interested in bringing Toovey back. (Toby Zerna)

 

Taylor is believed to have put up his hand after previous head coaching stints at Parramatta, South Sydney and Wests Tigers, where he had an overall success rate of 43.6 per cent in 140 games.

Taylor was the attack coach for the Sydney Roosters this year.

While all the candidates have the credentials, it just seems ludicrous the club won't even consider Toovey given his outstanding service as a player and a coach.

When news of Barrett's pending exit was first revealed, Manly fans were vocal in their support of Toovey.

But it appears club management is too proud to swallow its pride after dumping Toovey to bring in Barrett.

Toovey took Manly to the preliminary final in 2012 and the grand final in 2013.

He then made the second week of the finals in 2014 before finishing 9th in 2015.

The biggest issue confronting whoever takes over from Barrett is making sure the club has the proper structure in place so the same problems that led to Barrett's demise don't continue to fester.

The Sea Eagles are also without a head of high performance following Dan Ferris' exit in recent days, and many other crucial positions including a head of recruitment remain up in the air.

 

Manly need to get this sorted quickly — and properly. (Adam Yip)
Manly need to get this sorted quickly — and properly. (Adam Yip)

Gorman issued a release to members and fans on August 7 promising moves were underway to bring in key staff.

But two months down the track it remains on the to-do list.

Gorman vowed: "Our goal is to clearly have it done and well and truly by before our players come back.

"They need the stability of that. That is our focus and we will achieve that."

 

 

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