Sea Eagles confirm Hasler’s return
MANLY have confirmed the return of former premiership-winning coach Des Hasler on a three-year deal, effective immediately.
Following Trent Barrett's decision to hand in his notice, Hasler has agreed to return to the club after a season in the NRL wilderness since being sacked from the Bulldogs at the end of 2017.
"It's great to be back coaching in the NRL," Hasler said Tuesday.
"I really missed coaching this year.
"I'm looking forward to getting back into that day to day I won't say grind, but interaction and working with players again."
Hasler's appointment has added to the conjecture around the future of Barrett, who is reportedly seeking a payout from the club.
However club owner Scott Penn reaffirmed his commitment to protect the club's interests.
"I think we've been clear for the last few months that Trent is still employed by the club," Penn said.
"He has a contract on foot. He resigned. That was his decision and then as a club we need to protect our interests and that's exactly what we're doing.
"We need a coach for 2019 and we're still working through that process, but we don't want to go into any detail."
Hasler said he had not spoken with the club about Barrett's position with the club before committing to the deal.
"I haven't had any discussions about Trent and if you want to speak about him then you need to speak to these two men beside me," Hasler said.
However Hasler did say he was happy to work with assistant coach John Cartwright and Chad Randall and the current coaching Manly staff.
"They are good fellas Chad and John," Hasler said.
"I have played with and against John and they are both good human beings."
Penn said he was delighted to have Hasler back at the club.
"We have had dialogue on and off over three last three weeks and we are happy to have Des back," Penn said.
"We had a really good members forum two weeks ago at the League's club with 200 members and they were really firm that they wanted to have a Manly man in charge.
"We hadn't had formal talks with Des, but I think that crystallised our thinking.
"We have won eight premierships with a Manly man in charge, so we are confident that Des can bring back the success that we need."
Hasler said he was delighted to return to the club that he started his NRL coaching career at back in 2005.
"It's close to feeling like home," Hasler said.
"My connection to the club is well documented as a player and a coach and I've been around the coaching ranks for a long time.
"The club has been a big part of my professional sporting career, so it is good to be back."
Hasler opened up on the repaired relationship between Penn and himself after the two clashed before Hasler defected to Canterbury after the 2011 Grand Final win.
"It's all good and we are back beside each other now," Hasler said.
"We are both professionals and we are back together now I'm looking forward to getting on and coaching the Manly players."
Hasler never ruled out a return to the club he made his name at, despite his ugly exit from the club.
"You learn in rugby league that all things are possible," he said.
Halser was open minded about the style the team would play after he was criticized for the Bulldogs' lack of imagination in attack.
"That is up to the playing group really," he said.
"Watching the games last year I think the roster is quite strong."
Hasler was reluctant to open up on his messy exit from the Bulldogs and thanked the club for his time there.
"I wasn't expecting the Canterbury decision, but that's the way it worked out and they way they chose to go," he said.
"I enjoyed my time at the Bulldogs and like this club they are also a very proud club and we made a couple of grand finals."
Halser admitted one of his biggest challenges was regaining Manly supporters, who deserted the club in droves in 2018, as the club finished second last.
"I think it is about from the top right through to the bottom and the journey that lies ahead," he said.
"They are a very passionate and very supportive group of fans, so fan engagement is huge for any club.
"I've had nothing but well wishes since the rumours started circulating."
Hasler led the Sea Eagles to the 2008 and 2011 NRL premierships.
Hasler-coached teams also made 12-straight finals appearances between 2005 and 2016.