Toovey or not Toovey, that is the question

AN UNRAVELLING Manly could send immortal and club legend Bob Fulton an SOS in a bid to stem the growing exodus of top-shelf players from the club.

Superstar halfback Daly Cherry-Evans has already confirmed he would join the Gold Coast Titans from next season, while Kiwis international and world-class No.6 Kieran Foran is tipped to follow his halves partner out the door, most likely to Parramatta.

As if that isn't bad enough, speculation suggests long-serving hooker Matt Ballin could be the next big-name player to pack his bags at Brookvale.

With quality forward Glenn Stewart (South Sydney) and enforcer Anthony Watmough (Parramatta) already settled into their new NRL surrounds, Manly desperately need someone who can not only identify talented new players, but lure them to the club, and keep them for an extended period. The pressure is building on the club's multi-millionaire owner Rick Penn and his family to initiate a major overhaul - on and off the field.

Fulton - one of rugby league's eight immortals and Manly's greatest player and most successful coach - is someone who could plug the player drain and turn around the club's fortunes.

There has also been talk Manly's former leading administrator Ken

Arthurson, who also once ran the game as ARL boss, could have a role in the club's stabilisation blueprint.

Fulton - who played 219 games, winning three premierships as a player and two as a coach - could be head-hunted as a director of football with a player recruiting brief. Clearly the Sea Eagles must do something, and soon.

Their forward pack looked timid compared to previous seasons without Stewart and Watmough, who enjoyed being part of the new-look Eels in the 42-12 win over his former club on Friday night.

That embarrassing loss has already sounded alarm bells for Manly which has been a finalist for the past 10 years, but will struggle to make it 11 on the display against Parramatta.

Another loss to Melbourne at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night could even raise questions about coach Geoff Toovey's future at the club.

Toovey, who played 238 games for Manly and led the club to a premiership in 1996, could become an innocent victim of the upheaval sweeping the northern seaside club.

APN understands former St George player and coach Nathan Brown has already had talks with the club, which has slowly gone downhill since winning the 2011 premiership under now-Bulldogs coach Des Hasler.

Brown, who has taken an assistant coaching role with Craig Bellamy at Melbourne this year, just missed out on the top job with the Wests Tigers.

The former Dragons hooker is keen to settle his young family back in Sydney after proving himself as a coach in the UK, firstly rebuilding a battling Huddersfield in three seasons from 2009 and then taking St Helens to a Super League title last year.


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