SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 22: New Manly Coach Des Hasler speaks to the media during a Manly Sea Eagles NRL press conference at Sydney Academy of Sport, Narrabeen on October 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

After reports emerged this morning that Manly coach Des Hasler may be in the firing line if Manly fail to make the finals, the respected coach has received the ultimate backing from owner Scott Penn.

"Des has a contract for as long as he wants," Penn told Big Sports Breakfast.

"The fact is, when Des came back to the club... if you sign a four or five year contract then you have to have a difficult conversation. It's a big (imposition) on any club to have to pay that out.

"We all have employment contracts that have three or six-month notice periods, and that's not the way coaching contracts have been.

"I'm not going into details but we've got rolling extensions and for Des there is automatic renewal based on his performance. It's sensible.

"But at the same time, Des is there for as long as he wants to be and as long as he's performing."

The Daily Telegraph had earlier revealed a clause in Hasler’s contract stating that he needs to take the team to the finals this year to trigger an extension – and if he doesn’t, he could be terminated by the end of next season.

It seemed unlikely that Hasler would be turfed on results alone after he essentially took the fall for the club during last week’s events.

He was universally praised for his mature and measured announcement as debate raged on over the issue of seven players standing down over the pride jersey worn in Thursday’s game against the Roosters.

With so much on the line for Hasler personally, his acceptance of the seven players’ positions and his determination to get on with the job of fielding a competitive side seems even more admirable, especially after club administrators all went into hiding.

Though there were some worrying signs at the start of the contest, Manly grew into the game and lost no admirers following a stoic effort in the 20-10 defeat.

Much of the blame for last week’s events seems to have landed at the feet of club staff who ‘kept players in the dark’ – but there could be longer-lasting consequences on and off the field as reports emerge of a possible split in the playing group over the issue.

The Sea Eagles face the Eels, Titans, Sharks, Raiders and Bulldogs in their run to the finals. Though they currently sit in 10th place, they could still finish this weekend in 11th.

With such a congested race for the remaining spots in the eight, they will likely need to win three of their remaining four games – if not all of them – to have a chance of returning to the finals.