Manly have faith: club anxious to secure favourite son Toovey for long haul

In for the long haul: Manly are keen to extend Geoff Toovey’s time at Brookvale Oval. Photo: Quentin JonesManly are poised to start contract extension discussions with coach Geoff Toovey in a huge show of faith leading into their grand final qualifier against South Sydney.

Toovey is signed until the end of next season but Sea Eagles powerbrokers are keen to secure him long-term. The club is set to form a retention committee to expedite the matter, with chief executive David Perry, chairman Scott Penn and board members Bob Reilly and Phil Sidney likely to be tasked with keeping Toovey on the northern beaches. The matter will be discussed at a board meeting on Thursday.

It is understood that some at the club are pushing for an extension of an additional two years to his current contract, while others are after just one. Of the four coaches still in the play-off race, Toovey is the most unheralded. But his ability to again get the Sea Eagles, written off by many as being too old at the start of the year, into the finals is one of the coaching achievements of the year.

While Trent Robinson, Michael Maguire and Wayne Bennett all have claims for the Dally M coach of the year honours, Toovey could scoop them all if his side makes an unlikely grand final appearance.

When the former premiership-winning halfback took over at short notice after Des Hasler defected to Canterbury, many believed Manly’s empire would crumble. But they have again made it to the penultimate game against the odds, defeating Cronulla after an arduous hit-out the previous week against Sydney Roosters.

Toovey is one of the club’s favourite sons, a one-club man who guided the Sea Eagles to premiership success during his playing days. The news is a huge boost ahead of their clash with South Sydney at ANZ Stadium. Toovey was ropeable after their last encounter, complaining about several contentious refereeing decisions which went against his side.

”We were in a really good position to win it last time,” said halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. ”There were a few things that went against us, whether it be the bounce of the ball or a few unfortunate decisions.

”I know we’ll be putting ourselves in the right positions the next time we play them so we can get the result we’re after.”

Halves partner Kieran Foran is confident Manly still has enough in the tank to overcome the Rabbitohs. ”You want to be there come grand final day. Everyone has got that burning desire to get there so of course you’re going to find that bit extra,” Foran said.

”As much as you’re tired and been playing tough games, we’ve got to find that bit extra to put in a good performance against Souths.

”They are a huge side, they really test you physically and I think they’ve got some really good threats across the park.

”We’re going to have to go up another level if we want to put in a good effort against them.”

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