the sun-herald revealed that under the terms of Hasler’s two-year deal, Manly require a top-eight finish this season to trigger an automatic extension for 2024.
Sources with knowledge of the situation have indicated those terms have been revisited in talks between Manly management and Hasler’s agent George Mimis recently. Discussions took place before seven Manly players stood themselves down from NRL duties on religious and cultural grounds over the club’s ‘Everyone in League’ rainbow jersey.
‘Everyone has been brave here, including the chairman, the coach, Daly Cherry-Evans, the players who didn’t play – everyone has been brave.’
The Sea Eagles’ subsequent loss to the Roosters has left them two points adrift of the top eight and in desperate need of a win over Parramatta on Friday.
Manly’s playing group assembled at their Brookvale base on Sunday morning for a “clear the air session”, according to Penn.
Penn insisted on Sunday that Hasler is under no pressure to keep his position, though he declined to comment on specific performance clauses in his contract.
“I’m not going to go into detail, but we’ve always said that Des is here as long as he wants to be and as long as the team’s performing,” Penn told the herald. “He’s not in any danger and we’re competing to make the finals.
“If we were competing for the wooden spoon it would be a different story, but we’re tenth and we’ve got to win at least four, if not five, out of our last five games and that’s what we’re focused on right now.
“We won’t entertain any discussions with Des until the off-season and he’s on contract for 2023 as it is.”
A surprise top-four appearance last season triggered a monetary bonus in Hasler’s deal, which was originally negotiated with one eye to the two-time premiership winner’s next move beyond coaching.
Penn reiterated that an off-field role for Hasler whenever his time as head coach wraps up remains the plan, with specifics around a coaching director or consulting role yet to be revisited since.
“There’s always been discussions to have Des on board for as long as he wants to be,” Penn said. “The most important thing as people come toward the end of their career, you do look at how you transition and when they transition.
“That’s been considered previously but right now, we’re not even there yet. The focus is this year and ends.”
Meanwhile, the ‘Sea Eagles Seven’ were advised to stay away from last Thursday’s home game against the Roosters amid police fears around crowd backlash.
The players concerned met with Penn and Manly officials last Thursday to discuss their stand-down and the lack of direct consultation from the club around the jersey.
They also trained together last week but Sunday was the first time they have re-joined the wider playing group with an eye to salvaging the Sea Eagles finals bid.
“There was a plan for the guys to get together, have a chat and a clear-the-air session,” Penn said.
“There aren’t any major dramas, it’s just that it was a very busy week and there hasn’t been a chance for everyone to get together and have a chat.”
Stream the NRL Premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.