Manly’s brave round 20 win over the Warriors won’t be enough to save coach Geoff Toovey’s job at Brookvale with the club legend set to be shown the door this week, despite having a year left on his contract.
The Sea Eagles remain in the finals race on the back of their impressive 32-12 over the Warriors in Auckland on Saturday against the Kiwi outfit who lost halfback Shaun Johnson in the 26th minute with a season ending ankle injury.
Penrith assistant and Country Origin mentor Trent Barrett is expected to be named as the incoming coach at Brookvale as early as Monday, with John Cartwright to come in as his assistant.
Toovey’s coaching record at Brookvale is a good one: he has taken Manly to a preliminary final, a grand final and a semi-final in the three seasons since he took over from Des Hasler. But he has seemingly paid the price for his lack of support for former Manly back-rower Glenn Stewart in his contract negotiations last year before he signed with South Sydney, and for aligning himself with the former Quantum faction at Manly before the Penn family took a 90 per cent share in October.
Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns, who is on the Manly coaching staff, told Channel Nine’s Sunday Football Show that he wasn’t sure what was happening at Brookvale and whether he will be on the Sea Eagles’ books next year, amid reports 14 players will be shown the door at season’s end.
“I don’t know what’s going on, I haven’t spoken to anyone,” Johns said.
“From the effort the players put in (yesterday) it doesn’t look to be affecting them. I’m not there when they are socialising, but as a group at training they all seem pretty happy.”
Manly host Brisbane in Gosford on Saturday night, and are set to be without Steve Matai who suffered a shoulder injury in the win over the Warriors. Ligi Sao has suffered a possible season-ending ACL injury, while Tom Symonds and Luke Burgess (both leg) are under injury clouds too after the Sea Eagles finished the match against the Warriors with an empty bench.
Brisbane kept their spot at the top of the NRL ladder thanks to their 34-0 shellacking of Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night with Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford leading the way for the Broncos.
Sydney Roosters held their spot in the top four and kept Wests Tigers rooted to the bottom of the premiership table with their 33-8 defeat of the joint venture, with winger Brendan Elliot scoring twice.
Biting allegations against prop Jesse Bromwich soured Melbourne’s 22-4 win over St George in Napier on Saturday. It was the Dragons’ seventh straight defeat.
Greg Inglis and Dylan Walker both scored three tries in South Sydney’s 52-6 thumping of Newcastle.
Penrith’s finals hopes took a hit in their 34-24 loss at home to Canberra on Sunday. Across town Michael Ennis inspired Cronulla to an upset 18-16 win over his former club Canterbury at Belmore Sports Ground.
North Queensland host Parramatta in Townsville in the concluding match of the round on Monday night.