Manly CEO addresses match fixing allegations
Manly Sea Eagles CEO Joe Kelly fronted the media following his side's 30-18 loss in Canberra to address match fixing allegations that surfaced on Thursday morning.
With no confirmation from the NSW Organised Crime Squad about any formal investigation, Mr. Kelly said it was unfair to speculate on the two matches from 2015 that had been at the forefront of the allegations.
"At this point in time we're aware of a one line statement from a police spokesperson. That's all we're aware of," the Sea Eagles CEO said.
"We did obviously come into more news as the day unfolded yesterday that there are unsubstantiated claims that two games last year have been looked into and that's what the allegations revolve around.
"Those two games were two games that Manly participated in and as a result of that we've been linked to that allegation.
"On this basis, and this basis alone, we've been unfairly linked to this allegation. This unfounded speculation is causing our game an awful lot of distress at the moment; not only our game, but our club in particular. At the moment, this proud, successful and community based club is really hurting."
Mr. Kelly declared he would fully cooperate with the NRL and the police's enquiries, but wants authorities to act as quickly as possible to ensure the club can move on.
"The Sea Eagles stand side by side with the NRL in placing the integrity of the game at the forefront. It's paramount to our game and we'll do everything possible to ensure that is the case," he continued.
"What we'd really like to do is urge the authorities to very quickly and as soon as possible bring evidence forward, if there is any evidence.
"If there is anything to substantiate, we'd like that substantiated as soon as possible. We don't want this to linger at all.
"We're more than supportive of any process that takes place from here on in. There isn’t a formal investigation at the moment, but if there is to be one then we'll certainly be very cooperative in that process.
"As yet we've had no contact with the police whatsoever."
The Sea Eagles CEO praised the playing group for their efforts in the nation's capital despite the innuendo surrounding them off the field.
"I'd like to commend our coaching staff and our players on a fighting spirit tonight," he added.
"It's been a very difficult time for everyone in the club, in particularly for our players and coaches. I think the fighting spirit we showed tonight – the willingness and the effort – was really commendable.
"Our club supports our players 100 per cent and we should be affording them the presumption of innocence."
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett admitted the investigation was an unwanted distraction but refused to pin the 30-18 loss to the Raiders on the events of the past 24 hours.
"I did have a chat with the players this morning to just try to put it aside and concentrate on what we're paid to do and that's playing and turning up to try to win tonight," Barrett said after the game.
"It's not ideal. It's certainly a distraction that we don't need and the club doesn't need. I thought the players were in a pretty good headspace when we did run on and I thought that showed in their effort."
Manly's night was made even worse with Barrett confirming Daly Cherry-Evans (ankle) and Jamie Lyon (hamstring) were facing up to four weeks on the sidelines, while Brenton Lawrence's season could be over after he tore his pec.