Manly owner Penn to meet Barrett in next couple of days
Manly chairman Scott Penn is set to meet disgruntled coach Trent Barrett before the weekend as their stand-off is set to come to an end.
Both men have spoken to the media separately in the past few days to try to reinforce their positions.
But Penn told NRL.com on Wednesday he did not think the situation was salvageable.
"We are still in discussions," Penn said. "We're not where we want to be but we're still in dialogue. It's a difficult one.
"The reality is that we're in legal discussions so I can't talk about his contract."
Penn returned from an overseas trip last weekend and said he would now be speaking to Barrett face-to-face after Thursday's round 24 game between the Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium.
"We will be meeting with him in the next couple of days," Penn said.
As for the playing group, senior leaders and skipper Daly Cherry-Evans, who had all voiced support for Barrett over the past month, Penn said they were being kept informed.
"That's all fine. [CEO] Lyall [Gorman] has that under control. There's been ongoing dialogue with the playing group and the senior players," Penn said.
Cherry-Evans said post-match last Friday, after Manly surrendered a 22-6 lead to lose to the Titans 42-34, that the coaching upheaval wasn't helping but it also wasn't the reason the players were losing matches. They were coming off wins over the Sharks and Bulldogs when they faced the Gold Coast.
"I've got some pretty strong opinions on what's happening but now is not the right time to talk about it," he said.
"Certainly when it's a lot clearer, I'd be more than happy to speak about it to be honest."
Penn then told the The Australian and the Daily Telegraph that he and his family as the owners of the club were not going to be painted as the reasons the club was in the doldrums.
He told the Telegraph that if Barrett left, the club would not be hiring another first-time NRL coach.
"We are not in a position to back a rookie coach. We tried it, it had strong potential but it seemingly hasn't worked at this stage," he said.
Penn told NRL.com that since the news surfaced of Barrett's displeasure with the club administration, there had been no shortage of coaches wanting to take on the Sea Eagles.
"There's been plenty of interest already. That's for another time," Penn said.
"We're not where we were hoping to be but we just have to manage what we can and do what's best for the club."
NRL.com reported that Manly players would be happy with assistant coach and former Titans head coach John Cartwright taking over.
- Barrett fuming over chairman Penn's comments
- Players tell Sea Eagles they want Cartwright to be coach
Barrett spoke to the media earlier Wednesday, as part of his weekly commitment ahead of game day, and expressed disappointment at Penn speaking about his future.
"I was a little bit disappointed with what we woke up to today in the Telegraph. But I want to honour what I said that we wouldn't make public comment on it until the end of the season," Barrett said.
"But in light of this morning we will make a statement in due course."
Penn also told NRL.com the club was not looking at shedding any players, and that rumours of Kiwis international Martin Taupau wanting out had no basis.
"I am not aware … we're happy with our squad. There's been no discussions and no requests from Martin or anyone else."
With forward Jack Gosiewski announcing on Wednesday he has re-signed for a further year until the end of 2019, Manly has five players off contract in 2018: Lachlan Croker, Brian Kelly, Curtis Sironen, Api Koroisau and Moses Suli.