Matt Ballin says he stuck by Manly in the tough times and expects that faith to be repaid.
Ballin has vowed to fight for his future at the Sea Eagles under the incoming regime of Trent Barrett after being told he is unwanted for next year despite being under contract.
Barrett’s appointment as the successor to coach Geoff Toovey next year at Brookvale will usher in an era of change on the northern beaches. As many as half the current Sea Eagles’ squad won’t be with the NRL club next year.
But after re-signing with the club for two more years in April – as the Sea Eagles were hit by a string of early-season losses, amid constant speculation over the future of star halves Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans – Ballin said on Wednesday he deserved to stay.
“I am still committed to the club and want to be at the club,” Ballin said.
“When I signed at the start of the year, I wanted to stay at the club and to make the club a better place and that hasn’t changed for me.
“So I am still of the same opinion that I am a player with the club and I have every right to stay.”
Ballin’s position as Manly’s long-serving hooker will come under threat from signing Apisai Koroisau.
The 31-year-old said he understood the situation had changed at Brookvale since he re-committed in April for two more seasons.
“There are some circumstances behind that – the coaching staff has changed,” said Ballin, who brought up his 200th game with Manly earlier this season.
“But my decision was to stay when players were leaving and the place wasn’t going too well.
“I decided to stay and, now that the club is going better, I want to stay and play my football here and stay for a club I really love and love playing for.”
Ballin said he was yet to speak with Barrett about his plans for Manly for next year and beyond.