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Manly legend Graham Lowe believes the NRL club needs a “big stick” and a “good dose of Ken Arthurson” to remedy the cultural problems engulfing the scandal-plagued club.
The comments come as rookie Manase Fainu engaged the lawyer who acted on behalf of Sydney balcony killer Simon Gittany after being charged with filming a sex act with a woman without her consent.
Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that Fainu appeared in a Sydney court in May, but did not enter a plea. He was granted bail to appear in the Fairfield Local Court on August 7.
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Fainu, 19, reportedly applied for the matter to be dealt with under section 32 of the Mental Health Act.
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It is the latest scandal in a dreadful year for Manly where they have constantly been in the headlines.
The dramas on the northern beaches include:
- the club being found to have rorted the salary cap;
- the Gladstone strip-joint incident involving skipper Daly Cherry-Evans;
- Jackson Hastings being overlooked for first-grade selection after his blow-up with Cherry-Evans;
- Darcy Lussick launching into the culture of the Silvertails after being forced out of the club;
- Anthony Watmough launching a stunning verbal attack on Cherry-Evans;
- persistent rumours coach Trent Barrett is considering walking out;
- speculation Manly’s owners want to sell;
- diabolical performances on the field, which have left them in contention for the wooden spoon.
The NRL will allow Fainu, who made his long-awaited first-grade debut last weekend, to continue to play while the matter is before the courts.
The charges against Fainu, coming in a year full of off-field scandals, prompted Lowe to question the culture and leadership of the organisation. The former Sea Eagles coach and chief executive said it was time for powerbrokers to stamp their authority and demonstrate what Manly stands for.
“It looks to me that there is a lack of a big stick,” Lowe said. “One thing I do know about footy is that if you compromise, at any stage, your principles and let mediocrity in, you’re in trouble.”
Lowe, a former Kiwis coach, said he felt for Barrett and hoped that he would receive the support required to get the Sea Eagles back on track.
“It sounds like it needs a good dose of Ken Arthurson,” Lowe said of the long-time Manly and NSWRL administrator.
“Ken is one of the best leaders the game has ever seen and it sounds like that’s exactly what Manly needs now. It saddens me to hear it. From the top, a big stick has to be swung.
“It doesn’t matter whose reputation you hurt, the reputation of the club is the ultimate thing. The players and staff are guardians of that role for the short time they are in it.”
Arthurson said he respected Manly’s owners, the Penn family, and hoped the club would bounce back from the setbacks.
“I’d like to think we’re doing OK,” Arthurson said.
“If you look at our record, there’s no club that has a better record than Manly in the 70 years they have been involved. I’m disappointed they won’t be in the finals because I still follow them and always will.
“They’re not the only team that won’t be in the grand final and they are not exactly Robinson Crusoe in relation to the salary cap.
“If you look at the records, there have been quite a number of clubs that have been in trouble with the salary cap. They haven’t got that on their own,” he said.
– Sydney Morning Herald