Manly Sea Eagles’s owner and chairman Scott Penn was locked in emergency talks with coach Des Hasler last night to try to persuade him to reject a whopping $2.2 million offer to join the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs after tomorrow’s grand final.
Hasler is torn between his loyalty to the Sea Eagles and an incredible $750,000-a-season offer that would make him the third-highest paid coach in the history of the game behind Newcastle’s Wayne Bennett and Melbourne’s Craig Bellamy.
The Daily Telegraph revealed last week the Bulldogs had been throwing a dummy about supposedly chasing a coach from the English Super League to camouflage their interest in Hasler.
The Bulldogs offer is a package deal for Hasler and his recruitment guru Noel Cleal, the man largely credited for identifying the outstanding rookies for Hasler to build a side capable of reaching tomorrow’s grand final against the Warriors.
Penn met Hasler in his office at Brookvale at about 5pm last night and emerged an hour later without being able to strike a deal.
The Daily Telegraph understands the Bulldogs want an answer by Tuesday after secretly tabling their offer two weeks ago, via one of the game’s senior player agents.
Hasler is on just $400,000-a-season at Brookvale.
The best the Sea Eagles can do is about the $600,000-a-season mark – still well shy of Canterbury’s offer to the hottest coach in the game.
Since The Daily Telegraph broke the story of the Bulldogs’ interest, Hasler has refused to comment.
The club has an option on his services for next year but it would hardly be the first time a coach has walked before his contract expires.
Ask Ivan Cleary at the Warriors. Brian Smith, who left the Knights early to coach the Roosters. In fact, it happens all the time.
Manly do not want to think about having to replace Hasler but the obvious candidate is assistant coach Geoff Toovey. The name of relegated Newcastle coach Ricky Stone has also been mentioned around the traps.