pride jersey saga – Michmutters

Toby Rudolf opens up on sexuality, pride comments, full Jake Duke interview, LGBTQI community, Cronulla Sharks

Sharks prop Toby Rudolf has opened up on why he spoke out and revealed details of his own sexuality amid the pride jersey controversy that engulfed the NRL.

In a wide-ranging interview with Fox League’s Jake Duke, the fan favorite discussed many parts of his career and life, including his support to the LGBTQI+ community earlier this month.

Rudolf welcomed the pride jersey initiative and revealed in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald he had had same-sex experiences despite identifying as heterosexual, stating “sexuality is fluid”.


Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

While many players chose to remain silent on the issue, Rudolf felt the need to show his support.

“I think I wanted to just throw my support behind the community that has sort of been there my whole life,” Rudolf said.

“Also I’m not too fussed to speak about anything about me like I’m not scared of anything to let people know about the things that I do.

“I think the main thing though is the LGBTQI+ community were sort of dragged through the mud that week and they were just looking for a bit of, I wanted to give them a bit of a boost.”

Growing up with a single mother and around members of the LGBTQI+ community Rudolf revealed that his uncle Marty played an integral role throughout his upbringing.

“Probably the biggest one was my uncle Marty, mum’s best friend,” Rudolf told Fox League’s Jake Duke.

“He was the gay guy that was in the article a few days earlier.

“He used to take me on camping trips, we used to go caving together at Jenolan Caves, went to Vanuatu once.

“He was always there, was always sort of guiding me along the way.”

Broncos set to make changes after losses | 01:53


TEAM TIPS: Broncos swing the ax as stars return while Storm face another headache

REVEALED: NRL’s punishment for Ricky for ugly spray as Kent slams

NEW ERA: Storm in ‘serious decline’ if Munster leaves as ‘biggest test’ looms

‘RATTLED THE CAGE’: The moment Eels star began mulling over Tigers backflip

Rudolf joked the big motivation for his sexualty comments was wanting to get on a Mardi Gras float.

“Well the NRL’s got one,” Duke informed Rudolf.

“Do they!” Rudolf replied.

“Yeah the NRL’s got one,” Duke said.

“Absolutely you can be on it, in the Budgy Smugglers?”

“Keen as,” Rudolf answered.

While Rudolf speaks about his experience and love for the LGBTIQ+ community so openly he said it remained a complicated situation.

“There’s always going to be a stigma around it I think, especially us playing such a hard man sport,” Rudolf said.

“There’s still just a bit of I guess stigma around you know being gay and all this and whatever but people just need to get over it I think.

Eels tired of ’embarrassment’ by Souths | 01:22


IN TROUBLE: Stuart facing unprecedented ban with NRL boss ‘so angry’

TALKING POINTS: NRL facing moment of truth after ‘ugly’ Ricky spray

WHISPERS: Dragons eye hookers amid shock retirement; Haas’ lucrative switch

DRAMA: Knights trainer breaks silence, reveals word that made Klemmer saga ‘worse’

“I can understand where people come from with the religious background and whatnot but in the general world today, the modern world it’s just ELE, everybody love everybody.”

“… It (the feedback from the comments) was really positive. No matter what you say you’re always going to have a couple of negative comments but 99% of people just sort of applauded me and my bravery,” Rudolf said.

“I didn’t really think it was that brave I just thought it was me just talking about my stuff, it didn’t phase me too much.

“I went out to Northies that night after the game, after we won that golden point game and everyone there was just being really nice as well, being really supportive, saying they loved what I said and yeah overall was just overwhelmingly positive.

“I was really nicely surprised.”

Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!



Manly Sea Eagles v Parramatta Eels live score, updates, stream, start time, teams, Supercoach scores, Clint Gutherson, Mitchell Moses

Parramatta have all but ended Manly’s season with an emphatic 36-20 victory at a sold-out Brookvale Oval on Friday night.

The win featured a try of the season contender and moved the Eels above the Broncos into fifth on the ladder with four rounds remaining.

MATCH CENTER: Sea Eagles v Eels, stats, video, teams

The Eels burst out of the blocks with winger Maika Sivo scoring two tries in the opening eight minutes to stun a pumping home crowd.

Sivo crossed untouched for both tries and with Mitchell Moses sidelined the kicking duties fell to Clint Gutherson who missed the conversions.

But Manly then scored 14 unanswered points as the sides went into halftime all locked up at 14-14.

The Sea Eagles hit back against the run of play when Daly Cherry-Evans put in a kick for Toluatau Koula to fly above the pack and score in the 20th minute.

Manly then slotted a penalty to draw level, before Jason Saab finished sensationally in the corner and Reuben Garrick converted to make it 14-8.

“What an amazing turnaround after all the pressure the Eels put them under,” Greg Alexander said on Fox League.

Parramatta center Tom Opacic finished a well-worked team try in the 33rd minute to lock the scores back up.

Manly struck first in the second half when Christian Tuipulotu burrowed his way over in the corner.

Garrick slotted a penalty in front of the sticks in the 54th minute to make it 20-14 before Eels winger Waqa Blake scored an incredible try.

Blake used every inch available to him to produce one of the best finishes of the season over the top of Morgan Harper.

“That’s an incredible try, he brought the ball well above his head, he was smashed by morgan harper but he still gets the ball down in that corner,” Alexander said.

“He is a blade of grass in from touch in goal,” Voss replied.

Eels skipper Clint Gutherson then scored from long-range after Shaun Lane broke the line and off-loaded to his skipper who raced away.

“Shaun Lane has had 10 try assists this year, it’s been a very effected year for him down that left edge,” Alexander said.

Eels center Will Penisini scored after pouncing on a smart grubber from Jakob Arthur before Dylan Brown sealed the result in the 71st minute.



Manly must win their remaining five games to secure a finals spot and they get back a host of stars against the Eels.

Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Tolutau Koula, Haumole Olakau’atu and Toafofoa Sipley all return after standing down last week amid the pride jersey controversy.

Marty Taupau starts for Toafofoa Sipley who moves onto the bench alongside Ethan Bullmor.

Parramatta are coming off their best win of the season, beating Penrith 34-10, but without Mitchell Moses (finger) they’ll start slight outsiders.

Jakob Arthur replaces Moses at halfback on the team sheet but Fox Sports understands Clint Gutherson has been training in the halves with Dylan Brown.



Manly Sea Eagles Pride jersey, Manly seven, player rift, Sea Eagles vs Roosters, finals hopes

A member of the 17 Manly players who did support the Pride jersey against the Roosters has anonymously blasted the seven players who boycotted the game and put the team’s final hopes in danger.

WWOS’ The Mole reported the Manly player, who asked not to be identified, painted an ugly picture of a team still very divided over the jersey saga that engulfed the club.

“They (the seven) are still saying they weren’t consulted about the pride jersey and it went against the religious a cultural beliefs,” the player told WWOS.

Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

“We weren’t consulted when a betting sponsor was placed on our jersey – the guys wear that every week… I’m not sure what their god would say about that.

“No one asked us when our oval was renamed after a brewery (4 Pines Park) – I don’t think their god would have been crazy about that either.

“And I can tell you very few young blokes in our club live by the 10 commandments – nor most young blokes in Australia for that matter.


‘DONE 100’: Roosters star Keary’s confession reveals NRL big hip-drop problem

‘AT A TIPPING POINT’: Knights at a crossroads, O’Brien feels for running ‘soft ship’

STADIUM WARS: NRL’s $800m threat to NSW govt over stadium funding backflip

VERDICT: Broncos star cops four-game ban for controversial hip-drop tackle

The Manly Pride Jersey.Source: Getty Images

“Yet these guys take a stance over a good move by the club to make the gay community feel inclusive in our game.”

The player also believes the fact that Manly’s loss to the Roosters could cost them the final spot in the top eight, will make it very hard for the rift in the squad to be healed.

Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!

Manly Sea Eagles press conference | 08:29

“They could have said they didn’t support the initiative but to refuse to play with their mates, it doesn’t sit well, and there is something of a rift in the group as a result,” the player said.

“If those two lost points – and we are confident we would have won (against the Roosters) – cost us a place in the finals, it will take a long time for us to get over it.”



David Klemmer, Newcastle Knights, disciplinary action, reason, dropped from team, video, reaction

Newcastle’s torrid season has gone from bad to worse, with enforcer David Klemmer issued a show cause notice over an on-field disciplinary issue.

The incident in question, according to The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent, came in the 71st minute of the Knights’ 24-10 loss to the Bulldogs.

Klemmer is said to have refused to come off the field and allegedly verbally abused Newcastle trainer Hayden Knowles, who was trying to make the substitution happen.

“It happened over a series of tackles throughout the last minutes of the game, where they continually tried to get him off the field,” Kent said on Fox League’s ‘NRL 360’.

“Now Klemmer just refused to go. He’s been disciplined, he hasn’t been chosen after this weekend’s game.”

The Knights released a statement on Tuesday confirming an on-field disciplinary matter had taken place, although they opted against going into any further details.


RUN HOME: Souths miss golden chance; Cowboys hunt unthinkable as rivals falter

DEADLINE DAY: Grading your club’s mid-season moves as frenzy shakes up title race

RESERVES WRAP: Tigers star’s big switch as beast stuns; answer to Storm’s woes

‘Can’t be repaired’ – Are Manly split? | 03:58

The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley described the show cause notice as “strange” given Newcastle had taken action by dropping Klemmer before giving him a chance to explain himself.

That was not all Crawley had to say though, with the veteran rugby league reporter claiming that Klemmer’s incident was only a smaller part of much bigger problems in the Hunter.

“It’s bigger than this,” Crawley said.

“There’s a problem up at Newcastle that everyone’s ducking and covering from, there’s players up there that aren’t happy. There’s a division within the club and no one can deny it. You’ve just got to look at their performances.

“There’s obviously some players out there that aren’t real happy and David Klemmer on the weekend has probably fired up.

“Something’s happened to him on the field, he didn’t want to come off but I assure you there’s got to be more to it.”

Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!

David Klemmer is out of the Newcastle line-up this week. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Crawley’s theory was supported by Braith Anasta, who said blow-ups like the one Klemmer had on Sunday afternoon to being substituted off “happen every weekend”.

“That happens every weekend at a club where a player doesn’t want to come off the field or will argue with his trainers,” Anasta said.

“I don’t know to what extent, but a show cause notice is very dramatic at 6pm on a Tuesday night where they haven’t picked him in the side. There’s got to be more to it. There just has to be.”

As Kent went on to point out, there were reports that Parramatta was looking to snare Klemmer before the mid-season transfer deadline, only adding fuel to the fire.

“It’s interesting yesterday Parramatta approached the Knights to get him on a loan deal,” Kent said.

“My understanding is Klemmer was willing to go, but he’s got next year at Newcastle. He wanted next year at Parramatta plus the year after, which they were not willing to go to, which suggested the fact that maybe he was happy to leave Newcastle.”

JUDICIARY HEARING:Carrigan arrives at hearing as likely ban is revealed

Inside Klemmer’s failed move to the Eels | 02:08

Former teammate James Graham said that Klemmer “looks very frustrated” and could understand why he may have pushed against coming from the field.

“He has very high expectations of himself and takes pride in his performances and especially his numbers,” Graham said.

“He can be one of those guys who is reluctant to leave the field of play. This is against his old club from him as well. I can understand why he may have wanted to stay out there.

“There were times the rotation with those middle forwards and Klemmer would protest leaving the field of play if he thought he could have an impact on the result.”

Corey Parker though called it “a load of BS”, taking aim at Newcastle for disciplining Klemmer, who he called a “the alpha male of the club”.

“Seriously, dropping someone because he said no to coming off to the trainer,” Parker said.

“I played 16 years and everytime I was asked to come off I was reluctant to a point where I would say to the trainer a few expletives to let him know I didn’t want to come off. He’s the alpha male of the club playing against his former club.

O’Brien’s time at Knights running out? | 02:43

“Are we playing rugby league? He’s the front rower of a rugby league club, is he just going to bow and come off? I played with and against Klem and he’s a tough, uncompromising, resilient front rower.”

Graham though responded by pointing out that sometimes a player has to put their own personal thoughts to the side and prioritize the team’s best interests.

In this case, even though he thought the decision to take Klemmer off was “strange”, Graham said coach O’Brien may have been trying to set a standard by dropping the enforcer.

“No one wants to come off but if your club is seeing something and you’re part of a rotation and it’s coming from the top,” Graham said.

“It does seem strange [to take him off then]. We’ve all sprayed trainers. I think it’s the fact he didn’t come from the field of play. Personally, I think it’s they’ve had a bad week, O’Brien is trying to set a precedent and build his club from him.

“We’ve heard about O’Brien setting standards for next year.”

‘This is what gives me the s****!’ | 02:04

The drama is hardly what Newcastle needed as it looks to arrest a concerning form slump which has seen the club drop four-straight games and lose 14 of its past 17 to plummet down the ladder.

Knights coach Adam O’Brien came under fire earlier in the week for his comments after the latest loss to the Bulldogs, in which he pointed out his involvement in “four grand finals.”

“It is a hard one for me as well,” O’Brien said at the post-match press conference.

“Previous to getting this job here I was involved in four grand finals.

“I know how those teams prepared. I know the systems they used defensively.

“You don’t unlearn that knowledge. Applying it and getting it ingrained is going to take some time clearly.

“Week to week we can talk about one area of ​​that defense and we can fix it in seven days, but then we will let another area of ​​our defense down.

“It is going to take a bit of time and I know some people don’t want to wait that long, but it is.”

Adam O’Brien’s coaching has come under scrutiny. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

O’Brien spoke to the media again on Tuesday to clarify those comments, admitting he would “like to have” that press conference back.

“I clearly did not articulate the message I was going to get across and I apologize for that,” he said.

“It looks like I’m an egomaniac. I was trying to get my message across to the supporter who sits on the hill that must be wondering do they practice defense and tackle technique? Are they fit, tough?

“I was trying to talk to them that the boys are training at a really high standard. I’ve tried to give hope to people on the hill that we are training at a high level – that’s not translating to the field and that responsibility is squarely on me.

“I’m not taking the accolades of the success at those clubs, that is Craig (Bellamy’s) and Trent (Robinson’s) work. I’m trying to create that here. We are on the path but we aren’t there yet.”



Tigers mid-season signings, Chairman Lee Hagipantelis, August 1 signing deadline scrapped, contracts, David Nofoaluma, Oliver Gildart, Storm Roosters, Peter V’landys

Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has slammed rivals for “exploiting” the August 1 signing deadline after finals contenders raided the merger club’s outside back stocks.

Bellamy’s Storm signed flyer David Nofoaluma, while the Roosters acquired English import Oliver Gildart’s services for the remainder of 2022.

While Hagipantelis agrees there are some benefits of letting players go on short-term loans — he believes clubs should have to look within for recruits to replace injured or suspended squad members.

Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

“My personal view is I am not a fan of the transfer system this late in the season, I agree with Peter V’landys that it is there to be exploited,” Hagipantelis said on Fox Sports News.

“The intentions when it was introduced were all very altruistic to assist during the Covid pandemic, but it has gone further than that now.

“And if there is one thing that NRL clubs are good at doing, that is exploiting the rules.

“I think that this late in the season, clubs that are struggling for reasons of injury or suspension should look to themselves, it is a test of their own resilience and their depth.

“I am not in favor of the top four or top eight teams cherry-picking from the bottom eight to enhance their prospects of a premiership, they should be relying on their own assets.

“But as I say, the rules are there to be exploited.”

‘Can’t be repaired’ – Are Manly split? | 03:58

Hagipantelis was also asked how he thinks the fans have reacted to the club allowing players to leave for the remainder of 2022 — revealing the overwhelming response was positive.

“I think it has been understanding, I think people understand that there is a forensic and financial advantage to an NRL club in this loan system,”

“There can be advantages to the player as well to experience an alternate reality and then come back, David Nofoaluma is a perfect example.

“I know David personally, I think it will be very good for him to get away from Sydney to play in Melbourne and in all likelihood play in the finals.

“He is very keen on coming back to the Wests Tigers with that experience under his belt, we see how David plays when he plays for Samoa when he has something to play for.”


RUN HOME: Souths miss golden chance; Cowboys hunt unthinkable as rivals falter

DEADLINE DAY: Grading your club’s mid-season moves as frenzy shakes up title race

RESERVES WRAP: Tigers star’s big switch as beast stuns; answer to Storm’s woes

‘PREFER FOR LESS MONEY’: Sheens backs Brooks to stay at Tigers on reduced deal

The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield revealed on NRL360 ARLC chairman Peter V’landys was set to move to August 1 deadline back to its original June 30 date.

In 2020, the cut-off was moved to assist teams stuck in Queensland fill their squads without reserve grade competitions taking the field.

NRL360 co-host Paul Kent was “disappointed” the NRL didn’t have the foresight to shift the date back, labeling it an “oversight” from powerbrokers.

“The whole thing is a win for common sense, it needed to happen, I am disappointed it was allowed to happen this year, I think it was an oversight that they have allowed it to happen,” Kent said.

How long will Carrigan get for hip drop? | 03:22

“The fact is, this is wrong for so many reasons this August 1 deadline, it is allowing teams to troubleshoot their rosters.

“The part of the game’s appeal is your 30-man roster gets you through the season, and it is the attrition and the endurance to last the season and to get to the finals in a good state of fitness.

“If you can’t do that for whatever reason… so be it, but that is a part of the magic of this competition.”

Fox League’s James Hooper agreed, explaining clubs making late-season signings “cheapens” the values ​​that NRL clubs have stood for.


‘CAN’T REPAIR A SPLIT THIS BIG’: Manly player divide could ‘derail their season’

WHISPERS: Broncos gun set to sign with the Warriors as Walsh replacement

DEADLINE CHANGES: V’landys set to scrap the August 1 signing deadline

EELS MOVE BLOCKED: Knights bosses deny Parramatta’s attempts to sign Klemmer

‘ONLY MINOR CONTACT’: MRC reveals why Storm enforcer escaped punishment

It has long been the attitude of the rugby league fraternity that your roster is what you have to work with for that season, and if replacements are needed they came from reserve grade.

Now clubs are able to cast an eye across the competition and cherry pick the best players from teams who will not be playing football finals.

“For a game that has been founded on tribalism, it just cheapens that whole concept because for the weaker clubs, what does it say for their fans,” Hooper said.

V’landys moves transfer deadline | 03:02

“They don’t get anything out of the fact that the strong clubs sit back and know the deadline is looming, know they have got time.

“Look at the Storm, how many players did they go after from Reece Walsh to Adam Doueihi… the list went on.

“That can’t be sitting well with the clubs down the bottom of the ladder.”

Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!

“For those middle teams… they get no benefit out of it, and I actually believe they are harmed by it because they can’t troubleshoot,” Kent said.

“The middle teams are not attracting players and they aren’t loaning players because it is just too tight, they need all hands on deck.

“They were being impacted, it was basically strengthening the top four teams who have the ability to go and pick the eyes out, as has happened, of the bottom four teams and just target their better players.”



ARLC chairman Peter V’landys, suburban stadium upgrades NRL, Penrith Stadium, Shark Park, NSW Government, Dominic Perrottet, news, Queensland grand final

Sydney is at risk of losing the NRL grand final to its northern rivals unless the NSW Government delivers on its promise to upgrade suburban stadiums.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys had a meeting with Premier Dominic Perrottet on Monday night, hoping to guarantee the deal to revamp four stadiums would be honored.

The agreement would see Brookvale Oval, Leichhardt Oval, Penrith Stadium and Shark Park receive significant upgrades — and if delivered, the grand finale would remain in Sydney for the next 20 years until 2042.

Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

But, according to The Daily Telegraph, V’landys is fuming as the initial deal struck in May to spend $800 million on stadium improvements is now in doubt.

“We are in delicate negotiations with the NSW government,” V’landys said.

“All options will be on the table if these negotiations fail.”

Last year, the Queensland government allowed the competition to continue, relocating all teams into the ‘Sunshine State’ due to Covid-19.

As a result, the end-of-year spectacle was played at Suncorp Stadium and now V’landys has left the door open for Queensland to host the grand final again if no deal is confirmed with the NSW government.

How long will Carrigan get for hip drop? | 03:22

Meanwhile, the only stadium given confirmation of a $300 million upgrade has been Penrith’s — in the electorate of sports minister Stuart Ayres.

Mr Ayres told 2GB on Tuesday that the Premier’s negotiations are “ongoing” with the NRL, but explained there were “limitations” to the budget.

“We have been really clear with the NRL about the limitations that exist on our budget,” he said.

“We have invested well in excess of $1.5 billion. Part of that is to say that we would like to have a long-term commitment from the NRL for the grand finale.

“I think there comes a point where you have got to say we have invested enough in that sporting infrastructure and when we have got the capacity to invest in more sporting infrastructure in the future there is no reason why we won’t do that.”

During the Covid pandemic, the $800 million upgrade of Accor Stadium was scrapped and the NRL moved to shift those funds to suburban grounds — and as a result the grand finale would remain in Sydney.

But now, that money which was said to be allocated towards Brookvale, Leichhardt and Sharks Park is unlikely to be put towards upgrades.


DEADLINE DAY: Grading your club’s mid-season moves as frenzy shakes up title race

RESERVES WRAP: Tigers star’s big switch as beast stuns; answer to Storm’s woes

‘CAN’T REPAIR A SPLIT THIS BIG’: Manly player divide could ‘derail their season’

WHISPERS: Broncos gun set to sign with the Warriors as Walsh replacement

DEADLINE CHANGES: V’landys set to scrap the August 1 signing deadline

V’landys moves transfer deadline | 03:02

The Queensland government is now readying a bid to claim to NRL grand final for years to come.

2GB’S Ben Fordham questioned Mr Ayres surrounding the Panthers upgrade being approved, while other grounds are looking unlikely to receive any funding.

“You’re the Sports Minister, your home ground is Penrith, you’re a Panthers fan and for all I know you’re probably the number one ticket holder,” Fordham said.

“So they got the $300 million, so what about Brookvale, Shark Park, Leichhardt Oval… I would be seriously surprised if you don’t know the answer I am posing to you.

“Why did your home ground get the money at your home ground and the others didn’t?

“Why don’t we just tell the listeners now, those other grounds aren’t getting their redevelopments?”

“Ben, there’s a long-term strategy,” Ayres said.

Inside Klemmer’s failed move to the Eels | 02:08

Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!

“We made decisions in what was the best interests of the public.

“We’ve had a long-term stadia strategy that we’ve been delivering since 2015. We’ve rebuilt Parramatta Stadium, we’re just about to open the new Sydney Football stadium.

“We’re committed to a stadium in Penrith, it reflects our three city strategy.

“We’ve invested well in excess of $1.5b dollars, part of that is, we’d like to have a long-term commitment from the NRL for the grand finale.

“We’ve just had Covid, we’ve had substantial flood impacts that have put more pressure on the budget.”



Manly pride jersey saga, players angry, text messages, emergency meeting, LGBTQIA jersey, news, highlights, Roosters clash, finals race

Fuming Sea Eagles players reportedly sent angry text messages to each other after the decision of seven teammates to stand down from the club’s crucial Roosters clash.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the players demanded to know why the seven players in question put the Sea Eagles’ final hopes in danger over the pride jersey saga.

Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >


BIG HITS: ‘Carnage in Newcastle’ — Knights discard haunts ex-team as Dogs run riot

‘INVOLVED IN FOUR GF’S’: O’Brien defends Knights’ NRL-worst defensive record

‘IN TROUBLE’: Broncos sweat on MRC as Carrigan on report for ‘horrendous’ tackle BIG HITS: Hynes ices golden point epic; Latrell’s mixed bag as Souths rue missed shots

‘VERY AVOIDABLE’: Legend blasts MRC as Storm enforcer escapes sanction for elbow

With their season in danger of imploding, the Manly playing group then organized an emergency meeting on Sunday hoping to smooth things over and mend relationships ahead of the last five rounds of the regular season.

Reports suggest the squad relieved tensions prior to the group’s return to training.

The emergency meeting was reportedly sparked by a breakfast between Josh Aloiai, one of the players who boycotted the match, Jake Trbojevic, Lachlan Croker and another team member.

Aloiai alongside Tolutau Koula, Haumole Olakau’atu, Jason Saab, Josh Schuster, Toafofoa Sipley and Christian Tuipulotu refused to play on religious grounds, angering teammates.

The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield provided details on the crisis meeting on Big Sports Breakfast.

“The club brought in a professional mediator to get the group of players to get together to try and get a sympathetic understanding from both sides,” Rothfield said.

“I don’t think they’re ever going to agree on the fact that the players did the right thing by withdrawing from the match last week but what they want is for the players who did play to get a better understanding of what and why they did it.

“That’s why everything was put on the table yesterday and there were discussions.

“I was told late last week the risk amongst the players in the team was basically it was not reversible it was quite deep and the boys who did play and played very bravely against the Roosters could not comprehend why their teammates took such drastic actions.

“I think after they got together yesterday there is an understanding, I still think there’s a very long way to go before it is completely sorted out to a satisfactory position where they’re prepared to like all NRL clubs to have full time camaraderie and strengths and spirit.

“I think you can call it an uneasy trick between the players.”

Wingers star in Bulldogs victory | 02:52

It comes amid fears within the playing group that the pride jersey saga could continue next season after players denied they would be willing to don the kit in 2023.

“I’m certainly aware the playing group is getting together,” Manly chairman Scott Penn said on Big Sports Breakfast last week.

“It’s really important everyone gets together and just talks it through. There needs to be a ‘clear-the-air’ session which is perfectly normal in these circumstances.”

“There’s not a deep divide which has been reported but I think there is some frustration in terms of the way all this played out.

“I met with six of the seven – Josh (Aloiai) was injured and wasn’t training but I spoke to him a little bit later. They are very determined and they were put in a difficult position but there are absolutely no hard feelings at all. As I discussed with them at the time, their focus now is on Parramatta.

Brain fade gives Niche a golden moment | 00:51

Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!

“The seven were very clear in their view and religious beliefs and we totally respected that. They have copped it from certain circles and that is unfortunate because we didn’t ever want to put them in that position.

“We will see a very cohesive team for the next five weeks. It was an emotional week and the circumstances put everyone in a difficult position.”

Reports suggest the meeting was not to try and change views, but to clear the air and find a common group as to why the group stood down.

As it stands, the Sea Eagles sit in 10th place, one win behind the Roosters and Raiders.

Des Hasler’s side will face the Eels, Titans, Sharks, Raiders and Bulldogs to close out the season, and every game is a must-win encounter.