Toovey to cost $ 2.6m

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - DEAN RITCHIE

MANLY will be forced to out­lay a whop­ping $ 2.6 mil­lion to sack coach Ge­off Toovey.

And this from a club ex­pected to lose $ 1.5 mil­lion this sea­son. News Corp Aus­tralia has been told Manly’s sole own­ers, the Penn fam­ily, will have to dig deep to pay out Toovey, who was of­fi­cially sacked yesterday.

Toovey will con­tinue coach­ing Manly for the rest of this sea­son be­fore Pan­thers as­sis­tant Trent Bar­rett takes over for three years. Toovey told his play­ers of the de­ci­sion yesterday morn­ing.

With pay­outs to other staff and new con­tracts for Bar­rett and as­sis­tant coach John Cartwright, the Penns will need to find about $ 2.6 mil­lion.

The Penns will shoul­der the en­tire bill.

The Manly Rugby League football club board – which has just two seats on the club’s ma­jor seven-mem­ber board – is­sued a state­ment yesterday con­demn­ing Toovey’s sack­ing.

Penn as­so­ci­ates point out the football club does not in­ject a cent into the Sea Ea­gles.

Toovey was not an­swer­ing his phone yesterday but will front the media this morn­ing. Bar­rett also was un­avail­able.

Sea Ea­gles god­fa­ther Ken Arthur­son is a great ad­mirer of Toovey but says he “can ap­pre­ci­ate the club’s de­ci­sion.” Arthur­son and Ful­ton have been in con­stant con­tact.

Manly fans yesterday took to so­cial media to ex­press their dis­ap­point­ment as club of­fi­cials pushed ahead with a new era and coach­ing struc­ture.

“With­out the Penns, there is no club,” said one well- placed source. At 10.39am yesterday, Manly is­sued a state­ment re­veal­ing Toovey’s demise.

Toovey played 286 first grade games and was club cap­tain be­tween 1993 and 2001.

“Ge­off has been an in­flu­en­tial fig­ure within the Sea Ea­gles … for al­most three decades. His con­tri­bu­tion on and off the field is un pre -ce­den-ted,” said Manly chief ex­ec­u­tive Joe Kelly.

Toovey was at train­ing yesterday for Satur day night’s clash with the Bron­cos in Gos­ford. ROOST­ERS skip­per Mitchell Pearce in­sists Shaun Kenny-Dowall de­serves to re­sume train­ing with the NRL premier­ship favourites, say­ing: “This is where he feels safe.”

Af­ter a hor­ror fort­night that saw him charged with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and then hos­pi­talised with men­tal health is­sues, Kenny- Dowall this week re­turned to the Roost­ers Moore Park head­quar­ters – join­ing a weights ses­sion and then field­work yesterday.

Roost­ers coach Trent Robin­son said that while the 27year- old would not line up against Can­ter­bury on Fri­day night, he could re­turn for the Tri­colours against New­cas­tle on Sun­day week.

How­ever, both Robin­son and Pearce stressed their only con­cern was for the men­tal well­be­ing of a mate who, on Au­gust 6, will front court on 10 do­mes­tic vi­o­lence charges against for­mer part­ner, Jes­sica Peris.

“This is about more than football,” Pearce said. “Ob­vi­ously, we’d love to have Shaun back on the field with us, but re­ally, that’s the last of our wor­ries. When some­one is strug­gling, you just want them to be happy. Full stop.

“Shaun’s ob­vi­ously go­ing through a tough time but so many of his best mates are here at the club, he feels safe here. So for us the only con­cern is get­ting Shaun happy again. Get­ting him in the right headspace.”

Asked about how his friend ap­peared dur­ing the weights ses­sion, Pearce said: “He looked happy, had a smile on his face, which was great. I’m sure ev­ery­thing is head­ing up from here.

“He had some time away but that’s not for me to com­ment on.

“He’s had good sup­port around him and he’s a tough guy. He cer­tainly looks like he’s get­ting bet­ter.”

Robin­son also re­vealed how men­tal health ex­perts had rec­om­mended Kenny-Dowall re­turn to the “nor­mal­ity” of his NRL life.

“They said hav­ing Shaun in train­ing, get­ting into a nor­mal rou­tine will help,’’ he said. “So we want to get him in here and mov­ing again.

“Get­ting Shaun in and around his clos­est friends is im­por­tant as well. They were happy to see him at weights yesterday af­ter­noon and he will start some train­ing to­day.

“He won’t do team stuff. We’ll just have him do some warm- up be­fore he goes off to do some speed work.”

Asked about the mind­set of his charge, who was last week ad­mit­ted to a Wes­ley Mis­sion hos­pi­tal, Robin­son con­tin­ued: “He’s in a good frame of mind.

“I had a good chat with Shaun on Sun­day and he’s much bet­ter. There has been a lot of stress in­volved for ev­ery­body and he’s a lot clearer on that.”

Robin­son stressed Kenny-Dowall’s re­cov­ery was a “day- to- day” propo­si­tion in­volv­ing both out­side help and con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the pair.

He added that a Round 22 re­turn against New­cas­tle was pos­si­ble, stress­ing he did not feel pres­sured to stand the player down un­til the al­le­ga­tions had been heard in court.

“There has been very clear dis­cus­sions with the NRL on that,’’ Robin­son said. “There has been very open di­a­logue be­tween the NRL and Roost­ers and they will con­tinue to mon­i­tor where we are go­ing with Shaun.”


EAS­ING BACK: Roost­ers winger Shaun Kenny- Dowall takes part in a train­ing ses­sion in Syd­ney yesterday.

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