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NRL rejects Manly salary cap appeal

Manly chief executive Lyall Gorman says the Sea Eagles board will discuss in the next fortnight whether to make one final appeal against the salary cap penalties imposed by the NRL.

The NRL Appeals Committee on Thursday upheld the original $750,000 fine against the club and $660,000 penalty applied to its salary cap (in 2018-2019) that it announced in late March.

Manly appealed that decision in four days of hearings in late June.

On Thursday, Gorman said the club still had two options left open.

"We have 14 days to get back to the NRL with our decision on whether we will appeal the penalty amounts imposed," Gorman told NRL.com.

"So the board members need to discuss that decide the merits or otherwise of that."

A second option would be to commence legal action to debate the technicalities of what constitutes a breach of a Third Party Agreement (TPA) with a player.

But Gorman said it was unlikely the club would go down this path.

"This is a proud club and we want to return it to the rightful pedestal it should be on," Gorman said.

"We appealed the NRL's decision on behalf of everyone at the club, those affected by this, and the fans as it was the right thing to do.

"We are still in disagreement over several areas of contention, particularly the area of TPAs being entered to at arm's length from the club.

"We firmly believe we did that but the NRL had another opinion.

"So now it's important to move on, move forward, put this behind us and get on with the business of getting the Manly Sea Eagles ready for a bumper 2019 season."

Two former Manly officials – Chief Operating Officer Neil Bare and CEO Joe Kelly – have also had their original 12-month suspensions upheld by Thursday's appeal decision.

However, they are free to return to the game from January 1, 2019, but only after completing governance training deemed appropriate by the NRL.

Manly's salary cap has already been impacted in 2018, with another $330,000 reduction to be applied in 2019.

Gorman said it would not greatly impact the club's recruitment and retention plans for next season.

"We've pretty well locked up our squad for 2019 anyway," he said.

"And we wouldn't be the only club trying to make sure they remain salary cap compliant for next year.
"While we might not be actively in the market, we have had success this year in our junior ranks so have some good talent coming through.

"We also had a season decimated by injury in our senior ranks," Gorman said, referring to knee reconstructions to Curtis Sironen and Lachlan Croker, along with season-ending injuries to internationals Akuila Uate [ankle] and Api Korisau [foot].

Centre Dylan Walker missed 11 games, while Jack Gosiewski tore knee ligaments and broke his arm to reduce him to just seven matches.

"We look forward to a better, brighter and luckier season next year."

One bright note for Manly was that of the 12 player payments found to be in breach of TPA rules, the NRL Appeals Committee dismissed one worth $25,000 over two years because there was insufficient evidence to support the original finding.