Former Manly coach Geoff Toovey has conceded the possibility there could have been more than just poor execution to blame for the club’s round 24 loss to Parramatta in the 2015 NRL season.
The game is one of two Sea Eagles games believed to be under the examination of the NSW police’s organised crime squad for alleged match-fixing, along with their round 16 NRL loss to South Sydney.
And while the team’s then-coach said he would be surprised if the games were fixed, he admitted there could have been something off in the team’s performance against the Eels.
“With the Parramatta game, you would think they were on non-performance drugs,” he told NRL360.
“Both sides – it was a terrible game of football.
“Could we be that bad? I don’t think so. Maybe we could be, but possibly there was some underlying issue there.
“But I would find that incredibly hard to believe that players would sink that low.”
Manly lost the match by 4 points, all but ending any hopes Toovey’s team had of making a late-season charge for the finals, in a year where the Manly club legend had the final year of his contract terminated.
In wet conditions, Manly completed just 21 of 40 sets and Toovey described their performance as “diabolical” post match.
The defeat was just the Sea Eagles’ second in seven games at that point, and came in different circumstances to the South Sydney clash, which they entered as outsiders.
Toovey said he had no such concerns about the 20-8 loss to the Rabbitohs.
“There’s no way you would pick the Souths game, I can’t remember it to be honest,” he said.
The former Manly premiership winner also conceded there was no way to rid the sport of of match-fixing claims.
“You can’t stop two or three people getting together and getting around the system,” he said.
“You can’t do it. It’s very hard, when there’s gambling involved in sport to stop it completely.”
The Sea Eagles maintain they are yet to be contacted by NSW Police in regards to the probe.