Manly won't pay out Barrett before contract ends
Trent Barrett will remain in charge when Manly take on the Broncos in Brisbane next Sunday in the Sea Eagles' last game of the year, despite the relationship between club and coach hitting rock bottom.
Manly officials are fuming after Barrett publicly aired his grievances, in an interview with NewsCorp, claiming he has to do a multitude of duties apart from coaching due to a lack of resources at the beleaguered club.
Assistant coach John Cartwright is a leading contender to replace Barrett next year but it is understood the club will not make any changes before their final-round encounter at Suncorp Stadium.
Barrett is contracted to be the coach until next July after he opted two months ago to take up a mutual clause in his extended contract that either party would end their agreement one year's notice.
Due to Manly's financial frailties – they are awaiting the results of their appeal against a $750,000 fine and $660,000 salary cap penalty – they cannot afford to pay out Barrett before that date.
While the coach and club vowed to remain silent on that resignation, the news leaked out.
Just who is responsible for that depends on who you are talking to. And just how the relationship between Barrett, chairman Scott Penn and CEO Lyall Gorman, deteriorated so badly depends on which camp is airing their grievances.
Penn told NRL.com last week the situation was not salvageable. Barrett told The Sunday Telegraph the outdated facilities and continual funding delays that forced his hand.
"It has been tough from the get-go and in the end it has become untenable," he said.
Yet Penn said the club had spent around $500,000 on a new gym and other facilities over the past 12 months.
"We made four grand finals and won two of those out of those facilities," Penn told NRL.com in an earlier interview.
What isn't in dispute is that Manly have had three CEOs, and are into their third football manager, during Barrett's tenure. He started in 2016 and signed a two-year extension in November last year that was due to take him through until 2020.
So what happens after the Sea Eagles-Broncos game?
It all returns to the ongoing legal discussions between Manly and Barrett's management. Barrett is still the coach until July 2019, after the club accepted his resignation.
But Manly's financial frailties mean they won't pay out Barrett before the terms of his resignation end in July.
Sea Eagles officials are adamant they didn't leak the Barrett resignation. They don't believe a coach would end a two-year agreement unless he had another position lined up.
Barrett has stayed firm in saying he has not spoken to any other club, and no other club has contacted him about a future job.
He has maintained the poor standard of facilities and dwindling numbers of football department staff are behind his reasons for wanting a better-resourced, more professional club.
Manly might be wondering if Barrett's concerns centre on the players' welfare, then why not stay and help with the improvements?
Despite the legal wrangling, one thing is becoming more clear each week: that Manly will have new NRL coach for 2019.
Just how and when that happens seems up to the lawyers.