It’s not something heard often but Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett feels sorry for Manly.
Bennett came out in support of Manly and their coach Geoff Toovey on Thursday in the wake of the “ludicrous” situation involving Sea Eagles star Kieran Foran’s Parramatta deal.
Foran could walk away from his deal to join the Eels from next year after that club attempted to rework the $4.8 million contract he signed three months ago.
Barely a month ago his Sea Eagles halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans backflipped on a Gold Coast deal and agreed to stay at Manly.
“My biggest concern would be for the (Manly) club,” said veteran Brisbane coach Bennett on Thursday.
“I can’t believe the turmoil that Manly has had to go through in all this.
“And you see criticism of Geoff Toovey, he’s the last guy people should be criticising.
“What has happened to that club is just horrific.
“Losing your two star players and then (potentially) getting them back again and we are halfway through a season – it is ludicrous.”
Bennett’s call comes days after Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said the Foran saga made the NRL “look like amateurs”.
“Of course there is a solution. As Craig (Bellamy) alluded to the other day it doesn’t happen in other sports,” Bennett said.
“There are other codes who can manage it. From the top right down it is just not being managed (by NRL).
“This has only happened in the last four, five or six years. Somewhere in that period of time we haven’t addressed it well enough and don’t look like we are going to in the short term.”
Bennett said a solution to the code’s contract sagas was possible and consideration of the the game’s fans should be foremost.
“First thing I would do is make some decisions that wouldn’t please everybody, and give the game back to the fans,” he said.
“So at least they know that players are contracted and can’t do the things we are seeing right now. We owe that to them.”