Sea Eagles chairman says club not for sale
Manly chairman Scott Penn says he's not walking away from the club, or appointing part owners, despite the rumour mill going into overdrive that the Sea Eagles are in financial strife.
After another tumultuous week for Manly, which included three more players being added to an ever-growing injury list as the club awaits a decision on whether they can appeal a $750,000 fine for alleged salary cap breaches, Penn sought to hose down some of the hysteria.
"I don't know where all this is coming from," Penn told NRL.com as successive media reports say the Penn family might cut their losses and put the Sea Eagles up for sale.
"We are totally committed to the club. We brought in some new shareholders, new investors, about two years ago to help with capital because we have plans for the club.
"And we're all totally committed to the future. We're not where we want to be right now but we also know what we need to do to fix things."
Public commentary has centred this week on the state of Lottoland Stadium's surface after season-ending knee injuries to Manly players Curtis Sironen, Kelepi Tanginoa and Lachlan Croker.
The state of the change rooms at Manly's home ground – which is owned by Northern Beaches Council - and the demountable offices at the Sea Eagles' North Narrabeen training fields, have also been called into question.
"In terms of the facilities, we've had those demountables for 10 years. We've won two premierships and been in four grand finals from those demountables," Penn said. "So they've been quite successful.
"But more importantly we're working hard on our Centre of Excellence and our future plans for Lottoland.
"It's been a long-term process and we have to keep working it through as things continue to change," Penn said in reference to setting up the funding with all levels of government and private sponsors.
Manly is also trying to beef up its recruitment, within the delicate confines of the $9.4 million salary cap, after its former Football Director Bob Fulton resigned last October.
"We're working on a new recruitment manager, that's nothing new. Since Bob left the club late last year there's always been a transition process we've been working on and this is part of it."
A Fairfax Media story on Friday suggested Hong Kong-based investor Harry Cheung was one party that could be interested in buying out Penn and his family's holding in Manly.
"That is bizarre as I had this conversation with Harry five years ago – that I wouldn't be selling," Penn told NRL.com, "And the answer is still the same today."
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Penn also reacted to reports that confidantes of head coach Trent Barrett had told him to leave the club, while he can salvage his reputation.
Manly has started the 2018 Telstra Premiership season with six losses from eight games and they have only 21 healthy players. The club is supposed to provide a list of 30 to the NRL by June 30.
"Trent's got a long-term contract. He is clear on what he intends to do and we [board] don't intend to interfere with that," Penn said.
"We will also be giving him all the support he needs. We met with Trent today on some things, as part of our ongoing dialogue to make sure he has the resources to do his job."
Last year Barrett signed a new contract taking him through to the end of 2020.