Manly star blasts teammates for creating ‘rift’

A member of the ‘rainbow 17’ – one of the Manly stars who did wear the pride jumper last week – has broken his silence over the issue that has divided the game.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he painted a grim picture of a team still very much at war with itself over the controversy.

While officials insist the club is now united after coffee meetings, a visit from a mediator, text messages and peace offerings, the player revealed a deep resentment against the seven players who stood down last week remains.

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“They (the seven) are still saying they weren’t consulted about the pride jersey and it went against the religious a cultural beliefs,” the player said.

“We weren’t consulted when a betting sponsor was placed on our jersey – the guys wear that every week… I’m not sure what their god would say about that.

“No one asked us when our oval was renamed after a brewery (4 Pines Park) – I don’t think their god would have been crazy about that either.

“And I can tell you very few young blokes in our club live by the 10 commandments – nor most young blokes in Australia for that matter.

“Yet these guys take a stance over a good move by the club to make the gay community feel inclusive in our game.

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“They could have said they didn’t support the initiative but to refuse to play with their mates, it doesn’t sit well, and there is something of a rift in the group as a result.

“If those two lost points – and we are confident we would have won (against the Roosters) – cost us a place in the finals, it will take a long time for us to get over it.”

One man who has spoken out in support of the seven rebels is Paul Abboud, principal at East Hills Boys High School in Bankstown.

Manly rainbow meeting held amid fears of ‘rift’

Abboud posted on social media: “I have been a Manly fan for 47 years, like most, loud and proud. In amongst the furore of last week, I got a call from teachers who have taken a year nine group to Narrabeen for a camp .

“After the seven players who have elected to stand down had their meeting with (club owner) Scott Penn, they hung around and chatted and took selfies with the boys at the camp. Even under the enormous pressure they’re under this week they took the time to inspire the next generation.

“I’m prouder than ever to know these bokes represent my club every week. They took some time today and created memories for life for these kids.”

COURT CASE COULD DECIDE FUTURE OF NRL

The NRL’s worst nightmare is currently being played out in the English legal system.

A group of nearly 200 former rugby union players have launched a class action lawsuit against World Rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union and the Rugby Football Union over the failure to protect them from brain damage caused by concussion.

And the firm that represents them has also signed up 75 British ex-rugby league players who will watch the trial with great interest.

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If the rugby union group is successful, the league players are certain to take their own legal action – and that could have far reaching effects for the NRL.

The league players include former Great Britain Test star Bobbie Goulding, who at 49 has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

The NRL has taken its hardline stance against head injuries specifically because they knew that sooner or later, this day would come.

There are many ex-players in Australia who are suffering from early onset dementia and concussion related brain injuries that could have been caused by playing football.

And the scary thing is that these lawsuits are successful, the very future of both rugby union and rugby league will be in doubt.

REAL REASON BEHIND TIGERS DECISION

Plenty of Tigers fans are shaking their heads at the decision to allow their best outside back, David Nofoaluma, to spend the rest of the year with Melbourne

But there is a method behind the Tigers’ madness – and it’s one that won’t make Nofoaluma happy.

The Tigers have let the sometimes wayward star go to what they believe will prove a demanding boot camp.

Nofoaluma is a class player but his off-field behavior has frustrated the Tigers for some time.

Craig Bellamy runs the tightest ship in the NRL and the Tigers believe that after a couple of months in the Storm system, Nofoaluma will return to the club a more professional and hardened player – and that can only be a good thing for the Tigers.

SON OF A GUN JOINS SHARKS

The son of Kiwi great Kevin Iro has signed a deal with the Sharks and has immediately been included in the club’s top 30 squad.

Kayal Iro, a speedy outside back in the same mold as his dad, has been in superb form for the high-flying Newtown Jets in the NSW Cup this season.

Iro has just signed a contract with the Sharks until the end of 2024 and looked a fine prospect playing for the Cook Islands against Samoa in the recent Pacific Test match.

A former Warriors under 20s player and Newcastle lower grader, 22-year-old Iro may even get a chance in the NRL this year if injuries hit the Sharks.

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