Monday Magistrate: Treatment of Geoff Toovey is so shabby

RUGBY league has earned a reputation over the years for disrespecting those who have given the game outstanding service.

Sure, some have ended their careers unceremoniously by their own making.

But too often players and coaches have been shown the door under less-than-palatable circumstances with fans justifiably asking why more compassion could not have been shown.

And this week, as the curtain is apparently to be drawn on the career of Manly stalwart Geoff Toovey, heads are again shaking.

From whichever angle the situation at the Sea Eagles is viewed, it stinks.

To say Toovey, a one-club legend, has been shabbily treated is an understatement.

For months now the rumour mill has had Trent Barrett replacing Toovey as Manly coach next season, despite Toovey still having a year to run on his contract.

A mate, who knows the Barrett family well, told me at Origin time that Barrett would be at Brookvale in 2016.

Worse still, seven weeks ago the Panthers announced that Barrett, their assistant coach, had been given time off to decide on his future.

But as late as last Wednesday, appearing on the NRL 360 program, Toovey said he had been told nothing.

If that is the truth, how is it that journalists, family friends and Panthers officials are aware that Barrett is joining the Sea Eagles as head coach, and Toovey has not been told?

That is a despicable way to treat a club junior, a 286-game NRL player and a premiership-winning captain.

Admittedly, the Sea Eagles have had a bum year, but Saturday's upset win over the Warriors keeps their slim finals hopes alive.

They have not missed the top eight since 2004 and in his four seasons in charge Toovey has taken them to the grand final in 2012 and the equal minor premiership last year.

And while that is hardly a shabby record, we all understand that coaches live and die by results.

Manly officials obviously feel a new broom is needed, and another club legend, Bob Fulton, is on board doing the sweeping.

But from the outside looking in, it appears the blueprint for future success hasn't been clarified to all parties.

News that 14 players on the roster are to be chopped was leaked to the media, as were the names of Barrett's assistant coaches - John Cartwright and Anthony Siebold.

Well done to the journos for their scoops, but it smells of poor club administration and shows total disrespect for the players, the coach, the fans and the Sea Eagles brand.

All affected will doubtless recover, the club will move on and more than likely will be successful again very soon.

But the unnecessary scars on Toovey's impressive and wholehearted career may take longer to heal.

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