After last Sunday’s grand final win, star Manly Sea Eagles playmaker Kieran Foran declared: “I don’t want to be coached by anyone else than Des Hasler”.
Given Foran is believed to be one of a high-profile band of Manly players with get-out clauses should Hasler coach elsewhere, his statement would now be chilling the spines of Sea Eagles officials and supporters.
As if losing Hasler to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 2013 isn’t enough, Manly face the added insecurity of up to five more free agents.
One is talismanic fullback Brett Stewart, who holds a Hasler clause but is off-contract at the end of next season anyhow. Nevertheless, Stewart enjoyed enormous and unwavering support from Hasler during his well-documented off-field dramas in 2009 and last year.
And then there’s Tony Williams, who remains off-contract for next year and was negotiating an extension when yesterday’s news surrounding Hasler’s defection to Belmore broke.
According to Manly insiders, several other players will be free to negotiate elsewhere when Hasler leaves.
It’s believed some are clients of high-profile agent George Mimis, who has Stewart, Foran, Jamie Lyon, Anthony Watmough, Brent Kite and David Williams on his books.
When contacted last night Mimis declined to comment because of contractual confidentiality.
But Hasler’s departure will change the face of Manly as we’ve come to know it over the past decade.