Manly manager Des Hasler’s unusual obstacles to fielding a Round 20 squad have been revealed, and there could still be more changes in the Pride jersey fiasco.
Seven forwards have opted not to play in Manly Pride jerseys due to their religious and cultural beliefs and there is a chance more will follow after some players turned down a call from Hassler ahead of the clash with the Roosters.
“It’s a very important game for Manly and they’re in trouble as a team,” Bright Anasta said on NRL 360.
Stream every game of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership season live and ad-break free when you play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Paul Kent Hasler describes the difficulty in pursuing his seven-star successors.
“Seven players pulled out so Des had to go and get players to fill their spots,” Kent said.
Unfortunately, some of the players he spoke to Manly also got kicked out.
The Daily Telegraph’s Dave Riccio Hassler revealed he was still trying to put a list together 15 minutes before the squad list was sent to the NRL on Tuesday.
“It’s been crazy for the Manly Sea Eagles,” Riccio said.
“On Tuesday we know the teams have to be in by 3.00pm. From 2.30pm to 2.45pm there was no team.
“They were still working out which players to choose from.”
Riccio Manly said that he chose unheard names, three players are returning from VV protocols and there is no certainty to enter the field.
More NRL news
Teams analysis: Roosters star back, Broncos first gun amid Warriors reverse
‘Don’t live in Russia’: V’landys considers Pride round amid Jersey drama
Flash memory: Holmes’ start shows how fired up the Tigers are
‘Not popular’: Ponga calls for changes to concussion protocol as he leaves for season
“They’ve made a name for players we haven’t heard of in Pio Cesi, the 28-year-old Fiji international,” Riccio said.
“Alfred Smalley, a 22-year-old winger, is playing for Blacktown Crew.
“James Segeyaro has not played in the NRL since 2019. He’s been waiting for this opportunity since that anti-doping violation.
“You can see Andrew Davey and Jake Trbojevic named as well as Lachlan Crocker.
“But they are still coming under the Covid protocols. I understand that Trbojevic is cleared, but Davey and Croker still don’t get clearances.
We can still see more changes.
Get all the NRL news, highlights and analysis straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Register now!!
Riccio revealed that 18-year-old Zach Fulton, son of the great Bob Fulton, is set to make his club debut.
“The oldest is Zach Fulton, the great-grandson of the great Bozo, Bob Fulton,” Riccio said.
“I understand Zach is playing.”
“He’s a talented back rower,” Kent said.
If you have Fulton blood, they all have talent. In some cases it is unfortunate, but there is no doubt that he will go out and do the job.
However, despite the squad looking strong on paper, Paul Crowley says if you take seven stars out of any team in the NRL, outside of Penrith, they will struggle.
“It’s a terrible team on paper, but they lost seven of their best players,” Crowley said.
“This is true. No Schuster, no Olakauatu. Kula is out.
“You’re going to get through the missing players, Josh Aloyi.
“They’re not one-sided and they’re against chickens.
“They are on 20 competition points and there are four teams in the fight for that eighth place.
“This is a must-win game that they gave away at home on Thursday night with a lead.”