Manly say they are confident of retaining Daly Cherry-Evans ahead of the round 13 deadline.
Cherry-Evans has until the close of business Wednesday next week to backflip on his deal to join the Gold Coast Titans for the 2016 NRL season.
The NRL on Tuesday announced plans to scrap the round 13 rule which allows clubs to lure players into reneging on deals with other clubs before the mid-year deadline, however Manly said they would utilise it while they still could.
The embattled Sea Eagles were dealt a major body blow when Cherry-Evans signed a four-year multi-million deal to go to the Gold Coast followed by Kieran Foran’s departure to Parramatta.
Manly chairman Scott Penn said the club always wanted to retain Cherry-Evans and their 2016 salary cap position had changed after Foran announced his plans to move on.
Asked if they were still in negotiation with Cherry-Evans, Penn said: “Of course.
“We never wanted (Cherry-Evans) to leave. I think there were circumstances beyond our control in those negotiations.
“But today it’s a bit different.”
When asked if Foran’s departure had opened the door to retain Cherry-Evans, Penn said: “Yes.”
Penn also threw his support behind under-pressure coach Geoff Toovey.
The chairman dismissed suggestions that Penrith assistant Trent Barrett had all but agreed to join the Sea Eagles and was being measured up for Toovey’s job, describing it as speculation.
The Sea Eagles are bottom of the ladder with three wins from 11 games following their 18-14 loss to North Queensland on Saturday.
After a two-match winning streak, the Sea Eagles have lost their last two games by four points or less.
They have been hampered by a big injury list to key position players this season, particularly in the front row and halves.
“There’s no question this season has been very tough for everyone,” Penn said.
“But there’s no doubt the effort has been there the last month and we just need a bit of luck.”
Cherry-Evans was not named to return from an injured shoulder against Brisbane but is considered a strong chance of taking the field.
He trained with the side for the first time in several weeks on Tuesday and must play this weekend to be considered for State of Origin II.