Club all at sea looking for ‘Manly DNA’


Until recently, the Pathways program was overseen by Kristie, Fulton’s daughter. She has been praised for the success of the program by owners and administrators over the past 12 months. Still, he was told the club was moving in a different direction when shown the door recently.

In an effort to recapture its ‘manly DNA’, it looks like the club are once again relying heavily on their small junior league nursery to produce stars of the future.


No official announcement has been made about where the club is headed, but David O’Donnell – a former Sea Eagles hooker and teammate of new CEO Tony Mestrov – has started in a path role. O’Donnell, who will be in charge of the programme, has resigned from his post at Manly Leagues Club, where he was a member of the district football club board and alternate manager of the Sea Eagles.

Those familiar with the peninsula’s junior scene say the move has the potential to shake things up. Privately, Manly knows his junior system will continue to need outside help.

Safe man

Anthony Seibold will start with the Sea Eagles when he finishes his England rugby commitments – and he has told football manager John Bonasera he still has a job with the club. You may recall that we published an email from Bonasera in which he apologized to Des Hasler for not communicating the club’s intention to wear the pride shirt to the coach and admitted that a mistake had to happen as he had so much to do without a club CEO.

It looks like he’ll be one of the few to survive getting run over while cleaning up Hasler.

young defense

Brett Finch’s attorney dismissed the outrage directed at Craig Young as “woke” and questioned the significance of the former board member using an official letterhead to write a character reference for the disgraced former Origin player.

Young was the president of the Dragons when he provided a reference to Finch during his trial. He has since quit the board after heavy criticism over his actions.

Paul McGirr, who acts for Finch, was strong in his support.

“Craig Young was a companion when he needed to be a companion,” McGirr said. “Should he have used the Dragons insignia on his letterhead?” Probably not. However, let us not lose sight of the fact that he appeared in his personal capacity as a friend of the family, and not in his capacity as St George Illawarra.

“He put that on the court record. Letter or no letter, Craig Young is the Dragons. Everyone identifies him as one of the legends of the St George Illawarra club. Craig served this club for nearly 50 years and he stepped down for the sake of this club he loves so much.

McGirr said Young could handle the heat. “Is that fair? Craig is not one to sit around complaining about what’s right or wrong. He made a mistake and bears the consequences.

The race that stops negotiations: Abdo suffers

Photos of Andrew Abdo’s ‘parade’ at this week’s Melbourne Cup in Sydney have sparked outrage against him from club bosses, who are furious at not knowing the salary cap for next season.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.Credit:SMH

Worse still, there are players who won’t know if they have a future in the NRL until the finances are settled.

It’s not entirely the NRL’s fault. The Players Association should be blamed for the delays. But one thing is certain: the clubs would have preferred to see the two parties spend Melbourne Cup Day at the negotiating table, and not in a private box doused in champagne. Abdo even appeared on the social pages the next morning with his arm around Commissioner Kate Jones on the red carpet. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

Now the clubs want to bypass Abdo and deal directly with Peter V’landys, who is in a tricky position. He’s already bragged publicly that the NRL is loaded with money, so there’s no reason for him to reject the push for a generous salary cap. But if he meets the demands of the clubs, it plays into the narrative that V’landys makes all the big decisions.

The NRL must sort this out before V’landys and Abdo travel to the World Cup in the UK this week. Expect the pair to receive a chilling reception from players. And at home, club bosses are in no mood to watch the pair flex their muscles during celebrations with the winning team.

NRL will make knights disappear in Magic Round

With the draw still being finalized, as things stand Newcastle will miss the Magic Round, the NRL’s biggest club celebration, next year.


With the arrival of the Dolphins in the competition, a team was going to have to make way for newcomers, given that the event takes place in Brisbane. From what we’ve been told, it’s the knights who will be kicked.

The way it was explained to me is that the decision was based on fan engagement in the last Magic Round. According to data obtained by the NRL, the Knights failed – which is quite amazing when you consider how loyal their fans have remained to a mediocre team.

Knights boss Phil Gardner said: “We’ve heard rumors that we’re the team to miss next year. This is not our major concern at the moment. We’re bothered by the uncertainty around other things like the salary cap and what’s going on with women’s competition. There is a lot of uncertainty around this for all players.

The NRL has not confirmed who missed the Magic Round. An NRL spokesperson said: “Each team is allocated three byes during the 27-round season. The team that was awarded a bye during the Magic Round is a factor in the overall draw and bye distribution. It is likely that the team that receives the bye in Magic Round will be rotated each season.

take the stick

The Wests Tigers are well aware of the supposed issues John Bateman has with Jackson Hastings. That they continue to pursue Bateman anyway is a sign that while they have made changes, the organization still has a long way to go.

Their dating of the former Canberra second rower smacks of desperation to land a ‘star’ signing.
We were told that Bateman had his run-ins not only with Hastings but with other players.

John Bateman left Canberra in 2020.

John Bateman left Canberra in 2020.Credit:Getty

He’s a vocal character who isn’t afraid to make his opinion known to coaches. Hastings is believed to have no ill will towards Bateman, but it seems Bateman has a problem with Hastings.

Hastings was one of the Tigers’ best players last season. His engagement with the fans was unparalleled. He deserves the respect of the club.

Bateman was gifted to the Knights and others some time ago. After doing their homework on him, everyone decided to move on.


Luke the other way around

The Wests Tigers have inflated their center of excellence’s wall of fame, but they’ve taken a cautious approach in their membership drive. The joint venture kicked off the campaign with images of Adam Doueihi, Api Koroisau, David Nofoaluma and Jackson Hastings taking center stage.

The notable absentee was Luke Brooks. He has been linked to Newcastle for 18 months – despite his denials of having spoken to them. If he ends up in a Knights sweater, the Tigers don’t want an egg in their face a second time.

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